Author: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna
Narrator:: Peter B. Brooke
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 10 Hours and 18 Minutes
At a Glance: There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story!
Reviewed By: Maryann
Blurb: When sword for hire Teodoro Ciéza de Vivar accepts a commission to “rescue” Lord Christian Blackwood from unsuitable influences, he has no idea he’s landed himself in the middle of a plot to assassinate King Philip IV of Spain and blame the English ambassador for the deed. Nor does he expect the spoiled child he’s sent to retrieve to be a handsome, engaging young man.
As Teodoro and Christian face down enemies at every turn, they fall more and more in love, an emotion they can’t safely indulge with the threat of the Inquisition looming over them. It will take all their combined guile and influence to outmaneuver the powerful men who would see them separated… or even killed.
Review: Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna did a fantastic job with this old world adventure romance story set in 1624 Madrid, during the Spanish Inquisition. I read this novel in 2012 and enjoyed it then, and was eager to hear it on audio. I was not disappointed. There is never a dull moment and there’s a good pace to this story! Tension, jealously, danger, adventure, humor, love and passion run rampant, and, given the time and setting, there is what I consider to be some mild violence. I would have loved to hear some feisty Spanish music from that era, and some clanking to go along with the sword fighting; it would have been an added enjoyment to the audio, but, alas, we can’t have everything.
Peter Brooke does an amazing job with the narration and the performance of accents and emotions of at least six major characters, the tones and accents so distinct. Christian Blackwood is twenty-three and has an English accent, Esteban is fifteen and Spanish; both have young sounding voices but very different personalities and accents. Teodoro Cieza de Vivar is older than Christian and even though he has a smooth, calm tone at times, it also reflects his maturity and the passion shared between Teo and Christian. Raul is a gypsy and former lover and friend to Teodoro; his voice has a very distinctive accent and expressive tones to match different situations. Gerrard Hawkins, Christian’s former protector, has a gruff, Cockney accent.
Teo is actually a very upstanding character with much pride and stubbornness. He is worldlier than Christian, older, and has served in the war and has killed. He is loyal to the end to anyone he has to protect. Christian is a surprise to Teo. Even though he is young, he’s not as spoiled as Teo thinks he is. He’s smart, generous, passionate and also loyal to his new found friends. It was fun to see the jealousy that first takes place between Estaban and Christian, and Christian being jealous of Raul.
I would also like to mention the beautiful cover by Ann Cain. It reflects the old world feel and the caring of Teo by Christian.
You can buy Checkmate here: