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The Chieftain (The Return of the Highlanders Book 4) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
A native of the United Kingdom, Audie and AudioFile Earphones Award winner Derek Perkins's audiobook narration skills are augmented by a knowledge of three foreign languages and a facility with accents. He has narrated numerous titles in a wide range of fiction and nonfiction genres. He is a member of SAG-AFTRA. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B009GAITTE
- Publisher : Forever (February 26, 2013)
- Publication date : February 26, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 1041 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 448 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #143,363 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In the first book of this series (The Guardian), 4 young boys visit the clan's elderly seer to be told of their fortunes hoping to hear of the great warriors they will become and the many battles they will win; instead, they are disappointed to be told their fortunes about.. of all things!... love and women. Connor, at the time a second son and thus not in line for the chieftain role, was told that his clan's future will depend upon his picking the right woman and that this woman would actually be the one to choose him.
Ten years later, Connor is the chieftain of his clan after his father and older brother were killed in the battle at Flodden, most likely by his father's greedy half-brother Hugh who claimed the MacDonald chieftain role for himself immediately following the tragedy until Connor received the tragic news and returned from fighting in France with his warrior cousins (Ian and Alex) and best friend/captain of the guard (Duncan). Since then, Connor has struggled to both stay alive after numerous assassination attempts and restore his clan to its former glory. Most recently, he has reclaimed a property taken by the rival MacLeod clan, and he has chosen to live there as the former family seat has too many ghosts of his childhood for him to wish to remain in those walls. Connor has left Duncan in charge of that property and placed Alex in charge of the seat to the north; thus, he has secured the castles, but he has not been able to completely rid the area surrounding his residence of their enemies. In addition, his uncle Hugh has become a notorious pirate who pillages, rapes, and plunders all that stand in his way of regaining the chieftain position... and Hugh continues to plot to rid himself of the nephew that simply will not die despite his many attempts. Though Connor has put off marrying for as long as he can, he is being pressured to forge an alliance that will keep his clan safe from its enemies and produce heirs to secure his succession.
Ilysa is the younger sister of Connor's best friend Duncan; when her brother and the other men went to battle in France and Connor's sister was wed to an Irishman, Ilysa assumed the duties involved in running the household. She has also been learning from the clan's elderly seer as she has some of "the gift"herself and is struggling to understand how to use it to protect those she loves. Upon Connor's return, her childhood crush on him is only intensified when she sees the type of man and leader he has become, but she knows as the daughter of his former nursemaid with no named father, she can never be considered to be his wife. So Ilysa does all that she can to care for the man who has taken on so much responsibility by maintaining a smooth running home, and when Connor moves to the remote castle the clan has just reacquired, Ilysa does not hesitate to go with him to get things established there until he finds a suitable wife to assume those duties. As her mother always instructed, Ilysa hides her looks behind ill-fitting gowns and wraps her hair in a kerchief so that she fades into the background and does not draw attention to herself, but when she interferes with Connor's plans (in order to save his life from a vision she had), he angrily dismisses her.
As the Gaelic saying goes, "the value of the well is not known until it goes dry;" when Ilysa leaves, Connor realizes nothing in his home or his life runs smoothly without her at the helm. When he encounters her a couple of weeks later sans the shapeless gowns and kerchief and sees her outer beauty shine as much as her inner does, he is floored. Though he wishes things were different, he knows he must put the clan's needs above his own happiness and marry for the alliance he needs to keep his enemies at bay. But what will happen when his heart refuses to listen to his head? Will he jeopardize his clan's future for a woman as his father and grandfather did before him? And once questions from Ilysa's parentage arise, will it save their future or lead to certain doom?
What I liked:
--- Likeable characters and getting to revisit characters from earlier books in the series
--- Quick-moving plot that kept me turning the pages until the wee hours with all the action and the culmination of the series
--- Steamy goodness!
What I didn't like as much:
--- Connor was kind of a jerk at first - it felt a little superficial that he mostly ignored Ilysa until she basically got a makeover and then was all gaga about her... I think the author's intent was to paint him as overwhelmed with responsibility to the extent that he did not think about women at all (he was celibate because he didn't want to have the illegitimacy problems his father and grandfather scattered about), but it felt like he went from 0 to 60 with lust and love for Ilysa after she came out of her shell
--- I wish that there was another book or novella in this one because there are a couple of characters that practically begged for their own HEAs... specifically Niall (Ian's younger brother - he has been in all of the books) and Lachlan who was a focus ancillary character in this book
Overall, this book edged out the others in the series in terms of my rating as it pulled most of the moving pieces together that had been in play from the start of this "quadrilogy." The story line was very engaging with lots of action, intrigue, romance, and (of course) a mostly satisfying HEA.
Plot --- 4.25/5
Main Characters --- 4.5/5
Supporting Cast --- 4.5/5
Steam Level* --- 4/5
Violence --- some battle scene violence (not too graphic)
Language --- not egregious
POV --- 3rd
*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild; 2/5 - sensual but nothing descriptive; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere; 4/5 - yes please! ; 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
Mallory's words spring to life in her characters. Her warriors are formidable with all the prerequisites for a highland Scott hero. The women in her books are well rounded characters who sometimes outshine the heroes. It was a pleasure reading about heroines and heroes who don't always follow stereotypical male/female roles. Mallory gives equal opportunity for both the men and women to play the fool and the savior. Each character is unique and evolves as the stories progress. The character of the antiheroes are also unique and well developed. They provide just the right amount of sinister vileness to generate hatred and suspense. Mallory's plots succeed in the development of action, angst, deception, treachery, danger, intrigue and suspense. They are weaved with tales of camaraderie, honor, love, romance, vulnerability, honesty and humor. Her portrayal of sensual desires is fabulous.
I did not read the books in order and each one can stand alone. If you are just beginning the series, I would recommend starting with the first book, The Guardian. The back stories are more cohesive if read in order. Just based on my personal preferences, I liked The Sinner the best, then The Warrior, followed by The Chieftain, and The Guardian. However, other reviewers have rated them in various other sequences. I'm sad that the series will be ending because I could read a dozen more. They kept me well entertained and reading into the wee hours of the night.
Connor is a strong alpha character that carries the weight of the world or at least his clan on his shoulders. His back story takes your breath away and helps you to understand why he thinks the way he does and why he makes such self-sacrificing decisions. He is blind to what is right in front of his face and when he does finally start to "see" the light it is funny how he chastises himself for his wayward thoughts.
Ilysa to me was like a butterfly in a cocoon and again her back story explains why the tragedies from her past keep her hidden in her present. When she leaves the safety of her cocoon the author does a great job at showing us that though we may look different on the outside on the inside the same insecurities can and do exist.
When the two come together it is awkward at first but in the end a breath taking happily ever after.
I liked the slightly magical notes laces through all four books and if I had a disappointment at all, I would have liked to hear more Tearlag's story and how she came to be such an important part of Connor's, Duncan's, Ian's and Alex's lives.
I look forward to Miss Mallory's next series and HOPE!! It will be out soon.
Top reviews from other countries
Good to NOTE though: it arrived with a library paper and label in the front, so I was alarmed. I phoned the library and they confirmed they legally give their old book stocks to "Better World Books" - so this was okay.