The crusade marches on, but Godfrey de Bastogne is left to defend the strategically important castle known as Olso Fortress. As his men yearn to return to their homes in Bastogne at the crusade's imminent conclusion, Godfrey is torn between going with them to reclaim his birthright and starting a new life in Azgald with Madeline, his betrothed. Meanwhile, Madeline seeks to increase her magical abilities but is thwarted in every attempt by the castle's new librarian. At the same time, High Warlord Alvir has neither forgiven nor forgotten the wounds dealt to him by the crusaders, and he lays siege to Olso Fortress. Will Godfrey prove to be the leader he needs to be in this dark hour? Can Madeline forgive him for his failings and sharp words before succumbing to bitterness? Or will a traitor within the fortress throw the castle gates open to the enemy before Godfrey and Madeline can come to their senses?
Godfrey Under Siege is the second book in the Griffin Legends series by Mark Howard. We pick the story after the ending of Godfrey's Crusade, with Godfrey and Madeline appointed in the Olso fortress; some of the crusade objectives might be considered fulfilled, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Crusaders are starting to feel tired of constant fighting, and some of them want to return to their lands. Godfrey gets appointed as the lord of Olso fortress, not without difficulties; the political game between the crusade leaders is still problematic. Madeline's father accepts to give her in union with Godfrey, but appoints a waiting time until the bishop can marry them. On top of that, Sister Varsha arrives at the fortress, with the excuse of taking care of the books left by the witch, acting as a de-facto librarian of the fortress.
The new librarian also starts acting as the chaperone of Madeline, and somebody who is in charge to keep her far from black magic and heresy. For a Madeline who wants to learn and improve the use of her magic, this becomes a major problem, especially with how closed-minded the sister is.
High Warlord Alvir puts under siege the Olso fortress, making all those problems even more problematic, not forgetting what happened in the past. In this situation, we can see how Godfrey is forced to act as a leader, and honestly, his youngness sometimes becomes a problem, especially because he lets his anger take decisions for him; and we will see some questionable actions commanded by Godfrey during the siege, which will be costly for the crusaders.
In the meanwhile, Madeline starts to feel frustrated, partly due to Sister's vigilance, and partly because of how Godfrey is behaving. Being ignored sometimes by the male characters, she will walk paths that will lead her to really dark situations, but there is still space for the good-hearted girl we knew in the first book.
While the first book had a really extensive world to explore, in this one Howard goes for the opposite recipe: most of the action happens in the fortress or in the fields around. I feel there is a growth in how the characters are treated, and honestly, they are more human than the heroes in the first book. The pacing was in a good spot, with a book that has a more political plot in the first part, but which starts introducing action after it, leading us to a really satisfying climax.
Godfrey Under Siege is a good continuation for those that liked Godfrey's Crusade. Howard has stepped up, improving some aspects of characterization. If you like epic fantasy, I can certainly recommend you pick this saga.
I’m thrilled you’re here, about to go on this crusade with me. It’s been a long pilgrimage already, writing this book. It started as a few short scenes I typed out during my freshman year of college when I probably should have been studying. Looking back on it, the first draft wasn’t exactly what I would call good now. I spent the rest of my undergraduate chasing girls, playing video games, and wondering why my grades weren’t better.
I had this story in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to change it in the second draft, so I kept putting it off. In 2014, I had my bachelor’s, and I decided to start writing again in earnest. There were only two problems. I now had a wife and a small baby to provide for, and I also decided to pursue a master’s degree at this time. This, and that I scrapped most of the ideas from the first draft outside of a couple of characters and the setting, meant that the next draft took another five years to complete. I think the work in front of you is much more mature thanks to my experiences in the interim. My master’s degree gave me a much greater depth of historical and literary knowledge to draw inspiration from, and my time as a husband and father working through grad school broadened my personal experiences enough to give my characters the depth they deserved.
I’ve always wanted to be an author. My wife shares in this ambition for herself, and we intend to make this book the first in several series of books set in this world we’ve created. If you enjoy what you read, please post a good review online. That will help us bring more books to you, and in a more timely manner. Thanks!