Series: Scots and Swords #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 25, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Medieval Era, Scottish Highlands
Narrator: Brad Wills
Length: 9 Hours and 29 Mins
Source: Self Purchased
Truth. Justice. Revenge. Behind these stands The Scotsman's Sword
Gladiator meets Fight Club in the Scottish Highlands in a new romance from USA Today bestselling author Kathryn Le Veque...
When Lor Careston's quiet Highland village was attacked and burned, he felt helpless against the raiders who destroyed his home. Seeking revenge, but lacking the fighting skills he needs to execute his mission, he sets out to find the Ludus Caledonia―a mysterious fight guild that turns men into warriors.
Lor trains hard, proves himself in the ring, and earns a place with the very clan that decimated his home, having decided to set his plan for revenge in motion from inside the clan. But his plan didn't include Isabail Keith, a fiery lass who prefers broadswords to embroidery and isn't afraid to stand with the warriors of her clan. Lor thought the Keiths were his enemies, but when Isabail is threatened, he'll have to decide what he's willing to risk for the woman who has captured his heart and the clan that has become his home.
This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.
Highland Gladiator is the first book of the first series to be taken on by Sourcebooks Casablanca for this author. I am so impressed with this book and I am not sure why it took me so long to read this one because dang Kathryn Le Veque really took this one to the bank on this book. Now I have read previous works from her but I am so happy to see so many readers becoming introduced to her due to this series. She is one of the best talents in historical romance today and she really delves into the settings and eras most authors don’t brave. And I love seeing what she did with this book and it definitely was everything that I needed in a book especially in a historical. While I have had some hit or misses with historical romance this year, this one definitely took the cake for me and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Highland Gladiator is a story which features:
- Lor Careston-Blacksmith, birdkeeper, honest working man that becomes a fighter and gladiator and warrior for his people
- Isabail Keith-daughter of the woodland clans, sweet but a defender and fighter, and devoted to the boy and man she knows in Lor.
Highland Gladiator starts off with our two love interests meeting as children and then later meeting as adults as they are more mature but still sweet on each other. Lor is the grandson of a renowned blacksmith for his people and is maturing and ready to take over fully. And then he sees the girl he once teased and played with that fateful day in a full-grown woman and his interest is clear. Even though their families don’t approve of the match, they meet in secret and form a bond with each other that is strong and fierce but sweet and loving. But they are willing to find what they are made of but neither Lor nor Isabail ever realized how their love would be tested, and tested in ways that will put their love to the test. When they are separated when Lor’s village is attacked and he believes his grandfather is killed, he leaves it all and unable to find Isabail he heads up north to find Ludus Caledonia, a fighting guild that will teach him how to fight, become a warrior, and claim his revenge. But roads to revenge are never what they seem to be and he will have to make a choice, the woman he loves and claiming his sought-after revenge.
I faithfully swear to do all that is commanded of me, All that is required of me, And all that is asked of me. May I live both to fight and to protect my brethren. May God smile upon me and grant me courage So that I may not fail myself nor those around me. Thus it is spoken, thus it shall be done.
Highland Gladiator was such a fierce and passionate love tale and I just wanted more of it. Immersing myself into this book helped me realize how much I MISS reading this author and I am not even sure why I even stopped reading her. I think there are so many books that it can be easy to let some books easily slip through the cracks. And to be honest I just didn’t know what this book contained, and hadn’t read many reviews of this one, so wasn’t sure if I would ever be in the right mood for this but let me tell you…..I should have just read it a year ago and I feel like *banging my head against a wall* in how I should have done this way sooner. I honestly couldn’t get enough of this pair. Now I will say that I highly recommend listening to this one, the narration is on point. Brad Wills is one of the best talents I have ever seen in my time of audiobook listening. He just has the perfect deep tone for a medieval, and really handles the dialogue and accents of all the cast members so flawlessly, every time I listen to him, I am amazed by it.
Now Highland Gladiator is a tale of revenge and love and how these two concepts can intermingle especially when the plot builds in such a way. I was intrigued to see how this would develop here and Kathryn LeVeque didn’t disappoint. I found the pairing’s love story to be so captivatingly sweet yet fierce. I love what they were willing to sacrifice for each other. And your heart just aches to see what they have to face with each other, and I did like that when secrets are kept, it’s not done overlong and take up so much of the story. The author really balances out these concepts just perfectly. There are such honest vibes in this relationship, I love that they can sense when something is wrong with the other and the transparency they have for each other is really beautiful. You just don’t see that too often in romance. I liked to see where the focus of the conflict in the story was centered on. And then we get our introduction to the fight guild and man I was HOOKED on this fighting guild. Because highlanders plus gladiator training, tactics and fight matches—YES, please. I just wanted to cheer Lor on in his training and fighting matches. This author definitely raised the level where these are concerned. And I hope to see this publisher take on more of this author’s books.
Overall I found Highland Gladiator to be a vibrant realistic view on this era, the truths behind clan wars, it contains a unique setup of intrigue, a well-developed revenge subplot, and a romance that showcases the value of fighting for your love in a time where it could come at a great cost….MAGNIFICENT