Noble Warrior, by Becca Ketelsleger, presents a different take on the legend of the Knights of the Round Table.
When Aceline Grosipan’s father is arrested, the young woman masquerades as a knight in order to set her father free. Against all odds, she enters the masculine world and finds a new home serving the king who imprisoned her father. Over the years, she goes to war, experiences loss and heartbreak. She also discovers what it means to be brave and noble.
The author loosely bases her story around the legendary Knights of the Round Table. Fans of the old-fashioned stories might find themselves adrift in Ketelsleger’s modern-day version, even though it doesn’t take place in this century. In Noble Warrior, knights spar with swords and they live in a castle. And it’s not the inclusion of a female pretending to be a male that blurs the time period. The language is much more modern and takes some getting used to. Phrases such as “fight or flight,” which was coined in the 1920s, and “business trip” aren’t typical for the genre and can knock the reader out of the story.
Ketelsleger does away with the known characters and places surrounding the legendary knights. King Arthur, Camelot, and Merlin are nowhere to be found. Instead, the reader is introduced to King Aiden, Calentto, and Sir Andrew Banidere. Foregoing the known aspects of the legends isn’t necessarily an issue for readers with an open mind and who enjoy a good story.
Sir Andrew Banidere, who in reality is Aceline Grosipan, is a refreshing spin on the Knights of the Round Table. This is a heartwarming story about a young woman who goes to great lengths to save her father. Oddly, once she does her father disappears almost entirely from the storyline and the real story begins, which is Aceline finding acceptance and love all the while keeping up her ruse.
Many readers will enjoy the ups and downs in Aceline’s story. The battle scenes aren’t too gory, but include enough action to get the heart pumping. At times, the author takes the safe route rescuing Aceline from discovery or avoiding sticky situations altogether. Pushing the boundaries a bit more would have amped up the suspense. However, there are twists and turns to keep the reader’s interest.
And the ultimate quest of finding love and acceptance is timeless, which will win over many readers. Today’s world is fraught with uncertainty. Noble Warrior is a perfect way to escape into an entertaining world filled with bravery, flawed knights, and a quest to belong against the odds. Not many readers will know what it’s like to pretend being a man, however many will relate to the issue of trying to belong in the “other” group.
Becca Ketelsleger’s novel will make readers laugh, cry, cheer, and hold their breath. More importantly, it teaches that in order to be noble one doesn’t have to be perfect. The key is being the best person you can be in good times and bad.