Cover Image: Lady's Ransom

Lady's Ransom

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Member Reviews

This is another amazing book by Jeff Wheeler. It fits perfectly in the series and make sense in the world he has built. It is easy and exciting to read. A real page turner with deep, likeable characters.
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Marshall “Ransom” Barton has come a long way since his introduction in “King’s Ransom: The First Argentines, Book 1,” as the child hostage of a king with a conscience who spared the little boy’s life.
In “Lady’s Ransom,” the third entry of the four-book series written by author Jeff Wheeler, Ransom, a knight armed with a special kind of magic and a bastard sword, is serving his third king as a powerful member of the council of Ceredigion, and is newly married to his lifelong love, Claire de Murrow, juggling both responsibilities.
Ransom helps Clair in her bid to retake the country of Legault, her kingdom by birthright. He also acts as protector of a potential Kingfountain heir and a forest grove, a source of deep magic. That last duty requires him to keep secrets from his wife, which causes internal and external strife.
When King Benedict, hoping to prove himself, rides off to war, Ransom is charged with keeping peace in the kingdom and helping oversee Damian Longmont, the man acting as proxy for the king and a complete buffoon. His title is justiciar, a term from the Middle Ages which I only mention because the word tripped me up until I looked up its pronunciation: “jus-tis-she-er.”
As in the series’ first two books, Alix, an Occitanian poisoner out for revenge, lurks in the background as a possible threat. Another old enemy appears now to be an ally … or is he? And a new character akin to Robin Hood pops up to make mischief in Ceredigion.
A book filled with knights and battles, it’s no surprise that “Lady’s Ransom” contains nonstop action, as well as a little chaste romance. Wheeler also has a penchant for writing middle books as gripping as the first and last novels in his series.
We see some familiar themes, artifacts and places from earlier Kingfountain series: secrets squirming to get out; a magical medallion; the forest grove and a certain palace cistern. As with previous books, Wheeler plants Easter eggs to tickle longtime readers. One example: Ransom, inside the cistern, has a premonition of two children splashing in its waters who find themselves in danger. We also see some familiar names crop up.
First-time Kingfountain readers won’t feel left out by these little additions. If “The First Argentines” (a prequel) spurs them to read the earlier series, they’ll catch these references then.
Full disclosure as I write this review. I received an advance reader copy with the caveat that I would write an honest review. The book is a relatively quick read and I found it hard to put down, filled as it is with action and plot twists and unexpected appearances.
I continue to enjoy Claire’s epigraphs at the start of each of the chapters, one which contained this phrase: “on the intrigues of brainless badgers.” Wheeler sometimes infuses these brief texts with humor, as this phrase demonstrates, and uses them to bridge time gaps and summarize action.
If I have one criticism of the book, it is that while the characters experience emotions, including moments of crisis, I’m not as moved by them as I’d like to be. One exception is a meeting between Ransom and the duchess of Brythonica later in the book.
By the end of “Lady’s Ransom,” Wheeler positions us well for the final entry of the series, “Fate’s Ransom,” which will be published in January. The book ends with lots of loose ends, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the author will tie them all together.
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I was gifted this book by Netgalley for a fair and honest review.
This review is late due to being ill with COVID, so I apologise. 

I loved the First Argentines series and I was hooked from the off. Claire and Ransom are amazing characters and have been a joy to read their ups and downs over the course of all three books. Jeff never disappoints with twists, turns and treachery. 

I look forward to his next book with great anticipation.
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4 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is another great book in this fun YA Fantasy series that finds Ransom's loyalties tested at home and with his king. Newly married, the couple arrive in Legault to reclaim the title that was Claire's birth-right, but before the couple can make much progress on the dilapidated castle, Ransom is called away to serve King Benedict. Claire is upset and doesn't want him to go, but Ransom's duty is to answer his King's call.

King Benedict decides to start a war in a far-off corner of the kingdom and leaves Ransom and his council to run the kingdom in his stead. Co-ruling with Ransom is the King's mother and a sly, greedy and exasperating man who served the King when he was young. When circumstances become dire in the kingdom, Ransom must answer the call and once again put himself in danger to serve the Kingdom.

In this book we find Claire and Ransom apart most of the time -which tests the young couple's commitment to each other, as well as their ability to trust that they truly know the other person. Their relationship is strained to its limit, and a strange feeling and confession add to stresses on the duo. The author does a good job exploring issues of trust, fear and commitment issues that almost every couple experiences once in awhile.

The author moves some storylines forward in this book, but adds bits of mystery here and there that will need to be explored in the next books. This book had more political intrigue than fighting in it, which is a nice change of pace.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and 47North. All opinions are my own.
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This book is FANTASTIC!!! I am a HUGE Jeff Wheeler fan and this book did not disappoint!! I am literally here for EVERYTHING Jeff Wheeler writes!!!
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So incredibly real, awesome continuation of a knight’s tale

In Lady’s Ransom, Jeff Wheeler continues Ransom’s tale, making him so incredibly real yet again that you almost expect the sound of weapons singing against armor as they strike. Wheelers fantasy seems real and immediate and much like real life, frustrating at times. I want to yell at the characters to warn them about who they should trust and who needs to be locked in a dungeon, asap. 

This is just a brilliant continuation of a story that is my favorite series from Jeff Wheeler so far. I’m just glad Ransom doesn’t have to much further to go. Can’t wait for the next book!
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What I Loved
Lady's Ransom is the third book in the series and follows Ransom as he serves his third king.  One of the things I love about the series is that each book follows Ransom as he serves a different king.  That manner of organizing the series is quite unique. It lends itself to each novel having a different tone, pace, and story.  Lady's Ransom has a bit of a slower pace, with more story than the other two books that preceded it, but still compelling with the numerous challenges this new king has to face.  The story felt very much like the movement of puzzle pieces, dare I say, like on the magic Wyzr set, preparing for the fourth and final book in the series.

The magic is explored more and more in each book.  In Lady's Ransom, the possible history of the magic is discussed. The number of items out there with magic was determined to be originally 13, which has the reader and Ransom wondering what he will run across next.  I always enjoy a unique magic system. This one, taken loosely from the legend of King Arthur, is based on blessed items that serve a particular purpose.  Ransom carries a scabbard that will not allow him to bleed to death and quickly heals all wounds.  There is also a ring that brings the wearer to where they are needed the most and a board game where the pieces represent real people so movements can be watched and dictated at will.  Plus, a few more objects have been discovered to be in use and are equally as intriguing.

Ryain Hood (Robin Hood) makes an appearance.  I had just been thinking about isn't this the time of Robin Hood, when in walks Ryain Hood – an expert with a bow and arrow who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. His role in this story is very unexpected though I can't say more.

Lastly, I loved the twist at the end.  It took me by surprise but also felt right.  And I always enjoy a good twist.

Characters
Ransom Barton is true of heart and fiercely loyal to those he gives his word to.  He is the epitome of Knighthood and one to be held as a paragon of all the virtues the knights hold sacred.  His path is rarely easy, but then, we all know that doing what's right is rarely easy in life.

I adored Claire De Murrow's character in the first two books but was not as happy in this installment.  She became less self-confident, and as her mind filled with doubt, I became more frustrated with her.  I'm hoping that will change in the 4th and last book of the series.

What I Wish
My wish for the last book in the series is that Ransom stays true and all that is good and that Claire finds that inner strength and confidence that the earlier Claire exhibited.  And that he who would king and bring the land peace does make it to the throne with Ransom's help.

To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for an epic fantasy that will take you back to a time of magic, myth, and legend, The First Argentines series by Jeff Wheeler is waiting for you to pick up book 1 and be whisked away.
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I loved revisiting this world.  It was great to see Ransom and Claire together..  The politics do not get old.  Lots of betrayals and treachery.
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This has been such an enjoyable series.  The last couple of books I’ve read have been rather dark and grim.  It was nice reading a story so mild and wholesome feeling underneath the knightly action scenes. While there is violence in this of course since it’s a story about knights it isn’t over the top or explicit.  It’s a wholesome feeling story about a virtuous and true knight with his lady fair providing the chapter starting letters about what’s going on elsewhere in the kingdom.  It’s a good series if you have a soft spot for King Arthur and Robin Hood stories.   You could give this to a teen who found the story appealing without any worry about the content.
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I was really looking forward to reading this book and I did enjoy it, but parts of it made me rather sad and unsure of things. I was really excited to see Ransom and Claire finally together. Unfortunately Ransom gets called away all too soon and Claire is left to deal with things in her kingdom alone. I liked Claire a lot in the other books, but there were times here that she felt a bit out of character, and it affected the way I felt about the book at times. She seemed a bit too whiny and unsupportive of the things Ransom had to do. Now that I've finished the whole book I do get what the author was trying to do here, and I won't spoil anything, but I still didn't care for her personality in this book. Poor Ransom never has it easy no matter what, and that's what makes the fact that he's still such an honorable man so admirable, although I do feel that Ransom is a bit too much of a Gary Stu at times.

One of the best things about this book is the fact that I didn't see a twist coming that the author threw in near the end. It almost made all the sad and unsure things worth it. 

Thanks to NetGalley and 47North for providing me with an ARC of this book.
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I sit on the fence with this series. The knightly conduct and sense of moral fortitude draw me back each time. And yet, there is something about the story that makes me unable to ever give this series 5 stars. I really wish I could pinpoint what that missing magic is, but every time I read these I feel a little annoyed. The whole story is a little over dramatized for my tastes, but that's really kind of the essence of the legends of King Arthur. They were over the top and mildly unrealistic.

The web of loyalties is thick and tangled by now--and drenched in magic all around. Ransom is middle aged and married. He serves the Holy Grail because he bested its last protector. He serves the Duchess of Brythonica because her son is the next King Andrew. He serves the King of Ceredigion because he swore to serve all its king in his youth--no matter how terrible they have been to him. He serves the country of Legault because he married Claire. He serves the fountain because it has blessed him.

So many directions to be pulled. There is a constant struggle in Ransom to balance all the loyalties he has promised. He is stretched thin, and the magic makes it even worse for him. He can't control when the grail calls to be defended. Just poof, out he goes. And absolutely no one can know where is going. There are multiple fights to the death. Claire doesn't believe in his religion or his loyalty. He is a first time father. The kings want to be Ransom's number one, if not only, priority. He ends up in foreign countries more than his own home, which is being seiged.

If that is not enough to compete with, the magical artifacts of King Andrew are resurfacing, and they are super dangerous. The seering stones and book cause people to go crazy if not used with the Fountain's express permission. And guess who ends up with both?  Claire.  Since she doesn't believe in Ransom's religion, she goes crazy using them. 

The whole novel goes crazy with anxiety, tension, and grief. There are not enough cathartic moments to counter balance the excess tensions. By the end of this review, I pinpointed why I can only give the story 4 stars. I come away too anxious despite the great integrity and happiness that Ransom finds from his loyalty by the end.
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I was given an ARC by author:Jeff Wheeler to give an honest review. 

This book is the next in the First Argentines series. You <i>can</i> read the books out of order, Wheeler’s weaves in the back story with finesse. However, reading this book after Knight’s Ransom and Warrior’s Ransom makes this current book more enjoyable. 

The story is extremely enjoyable, as one has come to expect of Jeff Wheeler.  This definitely is a fast read. 

The world building is superlative. The story traces the trajectory of  Ransom’s career in the absence of the king. Since Ransom’s fountain magic is enhanced because of his loyalty, this is a tricky situation. All characters have come into their own. The dynamics between him and Claire takes on a new dimension as their relationship enters a new phase. As usual, all  fight scenes are very well detailed, realistic and extremely well done. 
However this book is unusual in that sometimes the language is not as tight as for the previous Wheeler books. I glossed over a few parts of the book. Another aspect that I missed was the further development of Claire’s character. This book did have more about Claire, and while there were some chapters from her POV, much of the insight into her characters were still from excerpts of her diary. That said, I still am excited about this series and await the next installment. Also I cant wait for the release of the audio book and Kate Rudd’s narration which I definitely am going to buy!
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I have read almost everything Jeff Wheeler has written and I love the way he writes.  I loved reading this book and had a really hard time putting it down!  I can't wait to see how the series ends!
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Lady's Ransom is a great installment in the First Argentine's series.   The books fall under a historical fantasy type genre.  The Kingfountian World is mirrored after a medieval England with castles, knights, and kings.  There is a magic system to this world but it is limited to a few chosen people.  The magic system is "faith based" and grants powers to those who honor the fountain.  There are characters who are "fountain blessed" that do acts of evil and are a corruption of the "magic" and faith.  The really interesting thing about Jeff Wheeler books is that all of his worlds are subtly connected.    There are hints of the medium and Muirwood in this installment of the series!  I was very happy to see another connection to his other works.  He is AMAZING at this.  

Our main character, Ransom, is such a noble and honorable man.  He always does the right thing even if it brings him trouble in his personal life with Claire.  Claire was not my favorite character in this book and I was very unhappy with her at times!    

Without giving spoilers, I'll say that this is another great work by Jeff Wheeler!  I love the tie ins to his other series and worlds.  I love how everything to do with magic is connected to a "faith" based system and the wielders of the natural magic adhere to some code of morality.  I like that the protagonists are usually a corruption of the faith and wield a dark/cursed type power.   I like that this Argentines series is giving us a backstory for his previously published Kingfountain books!   Jeff Wheeler is an amazing author and I love and read anything he publishes.
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Another fast paced and enjoyable entry in Ransom's journey. When we last saw Ransom he and Claire had just been married and he was now Duke of Glosstyr with war on the horizon with Occitannia. This book has events happening on fronts all over the region as the King has gone east to deal with issues there along with a loose, fragile alliance, and Ransom and Claire have returned to Legault to see what the state of affairs is there. Events move quite quickly as Ransom and Claire become parents, more artifacts of the Fountain are found which have a serious affect on Claire. Ransom is called to fight on various fronts while also being called to defend the Gradalis and assist Lady Constance. As with the other books in the series, it is an entertaining read and a great world to escape into. Looking forward to how Ransom and Claire's story wraps up in the next book!!
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I love Jeff Wheeler's novels, the Kingfountain novels in particular, and this is another wonderful installment of the First Argentines series.  What a great series of books for young (and old) readers.  As always, there are strong young heroes and heroines, who are loyal and true as they do their best to do the right thing for their families and for their country.  There are knights and villains, good and evil - and that perfect touch of magic, just to make things even more fun.  And being even loosely based on real people and events makes it even more interesting to me.  For some reason, this one did start a little slowly for me, but I wound up liking it even more than book 2.  These books are easy reads, but tell great stories, and have such great themes.  Many thanks to NetGalley  and 47 North for the e-arc.  A solid 4 stars!  I am already looking forward to Book 4, the finale of this series.
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Solid.  Not exceptional, but certainly solid.  Jeff Wheeler continues to surprise, from the title on - I was, I admit, hoping that this book would focus on a particular lady, not Claire.  In that I was disappointed.  Claire herself is better fleshed out, her journal entries lacking the weaknesses I noted in the first books.  Still, in spite of the title, this is not a book about her - nor a ransom for her.

There are new elements to the magic in the Kingfountain world, new items of power whose mention (if any) I somehow glossed over in prior works (I've read them all).  In the current novel, they seem more McGuffins, introduced and then removed to move the plot along without significant foreshadowing, nor much consequence upon their removal.  That weakness is the cause of my three star review.

Character arcs are believable, credible, compelling - its for those that I read the books, and in them I am well pleased.  I will of course continue with the series, and wait (impatiently) as Mr. Wheeler continues to weave ties between his various worlds.
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This was an excellent installment to the the First Argentine Series. Ransom is such a strong lead character who is morally bound to his duty to his kingdom, his wife and family, and the beliefs that drive him. Ransom has faced many trials throughout this series but his relationship with Claire is tested in this book. We are woven into the strain on their relationship that many couples would face in the circumstances of war. The character development and the suspense of impeding conflicts had me flipping through pages as quickly as possible. My only minor critique is that I feel Ransom was being pulled to all ends of the world in this book (vs the main plot staying near or further developing all of the characters we want to hear about). I truly care about all of the characters in this series. I cry, I laugh, I sympathize.. I just connect with all of them in general. 

Small revelations in this book have led me to believe there may be some character connections within the original kingfountain series? I hope this will be further developed in the next book. Regardless can’t wait to read it!!!
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Lady's Ransom continues to highlight why Jeff Wheeler is one of the better writers in historic fantasy currently working - his characters grow throughout the story, he injects just enough fantasy into his worldbuilding to catch the eye, and his draws from history ground the story in realism while allowing for wonder.  I've found myself emotionally invested in the growth of Ransom (and his family), and rejoice in their triumphs while feeling their loses keenly - this level of investment doesn't happen often, and shows me how much I enjoy Wheeler's work.  This is definitely one of the better historical fantasy series, and I can easily see myself keeping a set by the King Arthur and Robin Hood books to read to my children as they grow up.
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4.5 stars

Another excellent entry in the series. Poor Ransom barely gets to sit down to eat before he's got someone telling him there's another proverbial dinner party he needs to attend. He does get some modicum of happiness, which I'm glad for. I'm also glad James pulled his head out of his ass, but my eyes are narrowed in the direction of the next book. I cannot trust the man, though I do love a good redemption. Speaking of redemption, the ending was slightly dismaying. I really hope it isn't true. Lord, don't saddle us with *see spoiler on my goodreads review, I don't know if it will post here properly, and I don't want to ruin it for anyone* For this reason, I kind of dread the next book, and I sort of don't want to read it. This character, I do not want redeemed. The only way I will be happy is if he is killed off in some humiliating way like the little bitch deserves.
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