Revolution, etiquette, and true love–what more could you want? Crown Duel follows the adventures of young Countess Meliara Astiar who, together with her brother Branaric, swears to her dying father that they will lead a revolution against the evil king Galdran. Trying to lead an army of villagers, they land in trouble that gets even worse when Mel is captured by Galdran’s soldiers. But once the fighting is over, Mel faces an even greater challenge: the royal court.
Mel is a spunky, prickly, and very likeable character. Her misadventures as she attempts to navigate revolution, politics, and romance make for a fast-paced and entertaining story. But Crown Duel is not just a run-of-the-mill adventure story. It’s very well-written, with graceful and elegant prose. The country of Remalna is complex and highly convincing. And in with all the adventure and romance are serious discussions of kingship and marriage.
There are no deep moral insights in this book, nor inspiring discussions of religion. On the other hand, there is a clear distinction between good and evil. Mel refuses to sleep with someone on moral grounds that, though not explicitly religious, are certainly compatible with Christianity. Similarly, the discussions of marriage are not religious but compatible therewith. It’s definitely not only harmless but healthy.
(Note: this book was previously published in two volumes as Crown Duel and Court Duel.)