Bennett has instead chosen a rather unique way to set the stage for his second book. As was previously experienced, he bases his novels on one of the major influencers of the heir to the crown, and lets the tale unfold through their eyes. Although he continues with this approach, he has successfully taken it to a whole new level in his newest release.
Right from the first chapter, he draws the reader in, enticing them with the richly detailed origins of Dame Beverly Fitzwilliam. Her life unfolds in the pages of the book through a theme of overcoming odds and persevering in the face of adversity. In the author's notes, Bennett speaks to what women of the present day face, and how he used similar obstacles to build a convincing background for his main character. It is interesting to note that being a female knight in a patriarchal society affects Beverly's life every day, yet the tale is so much more than this struggle alone.
Unlike Gerald in the first book, Beverly is a hero, or at least strives to be a hero in everything she does, but like any real person, her moments of grandeur are tempered by the occasional flashes of self-doubt. This ability to create believable and relatable characters is one of Bennett's greatest assets, along with the creation of a well-developed world that has the backdrop of history layered into a fantasy location. This well thought out setting invites the reader to immerse themselves in these familiar surroundings, while at the same time, the unexpected plot twists entice them to keep the pages turning.
What is noteworthy about this series so far, is the ability for each book to stand on its own merits, while the overarching theme of good versus evil plays in the background. Bennett does an excellent job of ensuring the secondary characters are introduced in both books, allowing the reader to start with either book, but those that read this book first will definitely want to grab the series starter next.
Bennett's writing style is like a fine wine; it is getting better with time. His first work was a good read, while 'Sword of the Crown' shows a refinement of his craft, as he obviously grows more confident in his writing endeavours. He has come into his own in this book, and the future looks very bright for this author. The series is unfolding like a huge tapestry that will tell a grander tale when all the pieces are combined. The only downside is the time the reader has to wait until book three is released in the summer.