Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Kim Rendfeld's The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar. My stop includes all the details for the book as well as my review. The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar is a companion to The Cross and the Dragon, which I reviewed last year. If you missed that review, you can read it here.
Check out all the stops on the tour here.
***The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar
Publisher: Fireship Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review
Can love triumph over war?
772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two
children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family sell them into slavery instead.
In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honor. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master, and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion — but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.
Set against a backdrop of historic events, including the destruction of the Irminsul, The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar explores faith, friendship, and justice. This companion to Kim Rendfeld’s acclaimed The Cross and the Dragon tells the story of an ordinary
family in extraordinary circumstances.
The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar is a beautifully written, character-driven story. While the story revolves primarily around Leova and her two children, Rendfeld incorporated a rich cast, which combined with all the historical detail created a compelling and satisfying read.
The story begins with Leova having to flee her home, with her children, when the Franks attack. Once the smoke settles, Leova sees how much has been lost, including her husband. While Saxon tradition requires a blood oath for vengeance against the warrior who slew her husband, Leova, and her two children, will also thirst for vengeance again the remaining family who forsake them.
The story follows Leova and her children for seven years. The rich detail given to life as servants, albeit favored servants, enhanced the story every bit as much as the historical detail. The religious beliefs of the Saxons and the spread of Catholicism throughout Europe - how they clash - was fascinating. Witnessing how the Saxons' beliefs waned, changed and incorporated those of their conquerors was enlightening. And to see how religion was used to perpetrate war-mongering, even then, was interesting.
The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar was a story of family and how far family will go in order to protect and stay together. But it went deeper than that as well. It also is about letting go of the past, letting go of old prejudices and moving forward. This added an important element to the history being shared.
Once again, Rendfeld impressed me with her attention to detail. From the smells of rotting flesh on a battlefield or in a kitchen, the energy at market, or the sound of the pounding of soldiers boots as they march to war, I was completely immersed in the setting and the times. I was entranced by the fervor, love, and loyalty of Leova, Dearlaf, and Sunwynn had for one another. And I enjoyed watching their beliefs change as they saw and experienced more of the world. They went from ardently vowing the destruction of their enemies to living and loving among them.
Ms Rendfeld is very talented at bringing the past to life. The Ashes of Heaven's Pillar, with its gorgeous prose, vivid detail, and strong characters, is an excellent and satisfying read.
Kim Rendfeld has a lifelong fascination with fairy tales and legends, which set her on her quest to write The Cross and the Dragon.
She grew up in New Jersey and attended Indiana University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English, with a minor in French. If it weren't for feminism, she would be one of those junior high English teachers scaring the bejesus out of her students, correcting grammar to the point of obnoxiousness. Instead, her career has been in journalism, public relations, and now fiction.
Kim was a journalist for almost twenty years at Indiana newspapers, including the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, The
Muncie Star, and The News and Sun in Dunkirk, and she won several awards from the Hoosier State Press Association. Her career changed in 2007, when she joined the marketing and communications team at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She gets paid to agonize over commas and hyphens, along with suggesting ways to improve writing, and thoroughly enjoys it. She is proud to have been part of projects that have received national recognition.
Kim lives in Indiana with her husband, Randy, and their spoiled cats. They have a daughter and three granddaughters.