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Greece, 1379 She is known by many names, none of them her own. In truth, she is an unnamed slave, nothing more than a weapon in the hands of her owner in his attempts to provoke political mayhem. When she encounters a handsome young man while on an assignment, she thinks little of him—until he attempts to take what she has stolen. But in her line of work, failure is not an Greece, 1379 She is known by many names, none of them her own. In truth, she is an unnamed slave, nothing more than a weapon in the hands of her owner in his attempts to provoke political mayhem. When she encounters a handsome young man while on an assignment, she thinks little of him—until he attempts to take what she has stolen. But in her line of work, failure is not an option. Gillen is intrigued by the mysterious woman who thwarts his mission. But when his path crosses hers again, his intrigue turns to gratitude as the thief he comes to call Eudocia saves his life. The two form a bond of friendship and join forces to wrest control from a group of ruthless rulers. But as their camaraderie blossoms into something more, Gillen and Eudocia must fight for love even as they wage war for a better future.


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Greece, 1379 She is known by many names, none of them her own. In truth, she is an unnamed slave, nothing more than a weapon in the hands of her owner in his attempts to provoke political mayhem. When she encounters a handsome young man while on an assignment, she thinks little of him—until he attempts to take what she has stolen. But in her line of work, failure is not an Greece, 1379 She is known by many names, none of them her own. In truth, she is an unnamed slave, nothing more than a weapon in the hands of her owner in his attempts to provoke political mayhem. When she encounters a handsome young man while on an assignment, she thinks little of him—until he attempts to take what she has stolen. But in her line of work, failure is not an option. Gillen is intrigued by the mysterious woman who thwarts his mission. But when his path crosses hers again, his intrigue turns to gratitude as the thief he comes to call Eudocia saves his life. The two form a bond of friendship and join forces to wrest control from a group of ruthless rulers. But as their camaraderie blossoms into something more, Gillen and Eudocia must fight for love even as they wage war for a better future.

30 review for Of Sword and Shadow

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    I have so many thoughts going through my mind about this book that I just don't know where to start and what to share. I definitely don't want to share any spoilers because this book...WOW! AMAZING!!! I want to tell everyone to grab a copy and read it! Whether you like this time period or not. The main character, the slave and thief with no name, was a character that I couldn't help but connect with. I loved her character. Her struggles, especially her internal battle of right and wrong and her I have so many thoughts going through my mind about this book that I just don't know where to start and what to share. I definitely don't want to share any spoilers because this book...WOW! AMAZING!!! I want to tell everyone to grab a copy and read it! Whether you like this time period or not. The main character, the slave and thief with no name, was a character that I couldn't help but connect with. I loved her character. Her struggles, especially her internal battle of right and wrong and her desires to be free but also to be kind and good to those around her. Eudocia is the name that is used at one point for her and it has a great context behind it. I love how she talks about her identity, without necessarily having been given a name by her master, Thomas. It is a strong theme throughout the book and really had me thinking about myself and who I am with or without my name as well as how I reflect upon my name by being who I am. The book takes place in Thebes in the 14th century. Lots of political intrigue and factions wanting to rule and control. As well as a group, whom Eudocia becomes connected to through her master, trying to in a sense free the people of Thebes from oppression from outside rulers. As Eudocia embarks upon a job for her master, they become connected and in the middle of this unrest and war. And let me just say again, wow! Very masterfully written. The combination of slavery, soldiers, masters, rulers, freedom, identity, woven together with a tender story of friendship and budding love was wonderful. I loved seeing this world and struggle and dreams through the eyes of Eudocia. She is a character who might seem small and insignificant but is truly powerful. Her strength and determination to fight for what is right as well as continuing on through the unknown of her past and who she is, is truly inspiring. Her insight and perception of life was beautiful. Her friendship to those around her was another favorite part of the book for me. I loved the band of people she meets and the strength and security they offer her. There are so many wonderful quotes in this book that I would just love to share with you but I won't. Most of my favorite quotes come from Eudocia herself. As I said above, her insight was truly wonderful. I can't forget to mention my other favorite character, aside from Eudocia. Gillen. Have you ever had a friend who doesn't expect anything from you and lifts you up constantly? That is Gillen. His and Eudocia's relationship was beautiful to watch unfold and develop. He was a constant in her ever changing life. And let me tell you there are some very sweet and swoony moments between them that had me smiling and sighing. There were also some moments between them that had me crying. You'll have to read to find out why. I read this book a month ago and haven't been able to get it out of my mind. I was sitting on writing my review until the release date drew closer. But I love when I read a book and I can't stop thinking about it. The characters and story and everything just stay with you! I hope, if you read it, that you will find many aspects of the book that will also stay with you and touch you as they did me. I didn't want this book to stop at all. I wanted it to go on and on. But I loved every moment of it and can't wait to see if there will be more! Oh, I really, really hope so! If not, I'll just be reading this one again and again! Content: Clean. Some battles and death, blood (but very mild and not overly graphic). Description of a slave market but not overly graphic. Some references to the possibility of Eudocia's character being sold to a different master who runs a brothel, but nothing graphic. Some death and battles, theft, and similar things pertaining to war. I received a copy from the author. But have also purchased my own copy. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    A.L. Sowards

    I had a lot of fun writing this book and I’m so excited that the release is getting closer! It’s the first of my books to come out that’s not set in the 20th century. Instead, this one is set in the 14th century in the Duchy of Athens. Basically, I took what is known about a series of events, kept the facts, and filled in the considerable holes in the historical narrative. I love the story and the characters that came about as a result, and I hope you will too. The protagonist goes by whatever n I had a lot of fun writing this book and I’m so excited that the release is getting closer! It’s the first of my books to come out that’s not set in the 20th century. Instead, this one is set in the 14th century in the Duchy of Athens. Basically, I took what is known about a series of events, kept the facts, and filled in the considerable holes in the historical narrative. I love the story and the characters that came about as a result, and I hope you will too. The protagonist goes by whatever name suits her at the time, because she doesn’t remember her real name. She was purchased by the most skilled thief in all of Thebes when a toddler, and she’s been his slave and protégé ever since. Thomas (her owner) usually calls her Girl or Little Mouse. Then she meets Gillen the Basque. She’s not sure what a former whaler and mercenary from Navarre is doing in Thebes, nor is she sure if he’s working with her or against her. Gradually the jobs she and Thomas have been hired for show a pattern—they’re working to weaken the Catalan rulers of the duchy. As a Greek woman, she doesn’t love the Catalan overlords, but she’s not sure she wants to risk the danger of trying to overthrow them—not even with the help of Gillen, his Moorish friend, an archbishop, and a crew of Greek rebels and Catalan turncoats. The genre is historical fiction. You can expect political intrigue, sword fights, a unique historical setting, features of Christian fiction, and lots of twists. There’s enough of a love story for readers who enjoy that element to be satisfied, but it’s more of an adventure than a romance. I wrote it for adults, but it’s clean enough for most teens (more on content here: https://alsowards.com/books/content/). Of Sword and Shadow is a stand-alone novel, but I’m working on another story, set eleven years later, that includes some of the same characters. The book is currently up for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Deseret Book. Review copies are available through Netgalley. There's also a Goodreads Giveaway here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    DANG! That was a journey! I'm always curious how authors who know nothing about how a slave or a 1800's to 1600 century woman feels, writes a story about them, telling it all threw their eyes. I wouldn't know how to do it and I wouldn't do it justice. This author did a really good job with the main character who is a slave and has been for most of her life. How would she think, feel and act daily? WHat would happen if someone finally saw her as more than a slave? This was a heavier book then I w DANG! That was a journey! I'm always curious how authors who know nothing about how a slave or a 1800's to 1600 century woman feels, writes a story about them, telling it all threw their eyes. I wouldn't know how to do it and I wouldn't do it justice. This author did a really good job with the main character who is a slave and has been for most of her life. How would she think, feel and act daily? WHat would happen if someone finally saw her as more than a slave? This was a heavier book then I was expecting. This is an adult story with so much action! A sweet romance and lots of violence. Sadly the violence was tough for me, this poor girl is beat and tortured and humiliated. I would say PG 13 because it has detail but not enough, just enough to help you understand but not detailed descriptions just for shock or wow factor. This author really wanted to get in this girls head and tell her story and it was a very good one. I will be thinking about this book for a long time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)

    ***4.5 stars*** A.L. Sowards is a talented author. She has shown that she can write historical fiction at any time period. I ALWAYS look forward to her books. This story takes place during the medieval time period. War is brewing in Athens. A slave who is a talented thief is called upon to help with a revolt against the Catalan rulers. I love stories that take unlikely hero/heroine's and place them in a position to make a difference. Her owner calls her Little Mouse, she doesn't have a name of her ***4.5 stars*** A.L. Sowards is a talented author. She has shown that she can write historical fiction at any time period. I ALWAYS look forward to her books. This story takes place during the medieval time period. War is brewing in Athens. A slave who is a talented thief is called upon to help with a revolt against the Catalan rulers. I love stories that take unlikely hero/heroine's and place them in a position to make a difference. Her owner calls her Little Mouse, she doesn't have a name of her own, or it has been lost somewhere in time. She has a strong conscience, even though she is forced to steal for her master. She is at a crossroads in her life and she is helped along by the Basque known as Gillen. This book is full of suspense, political intrigue, sword fights, and a bit of romance. I loved it! Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren (thebookscript)

    This book immediately had me at 14th Century Athens. I’m always craving HF from different time periods and the author has done SO much homework in making this feel true to the times so that you become easily transported. Our main character is an unnamed thief and a slave who has no identity of her own and has lived most of her life in bondage. When she interferes with a mission and meets a handsome stranger her life gets thrown of course for sometimes the worst and also for the better. This book This book immediately had me at 14th Century Athens. I’m always craving HF from different time periods and the author has done SO much homework in making this feel true to the times so that you become easily transported. Our main character is an unnamed thief and a slave who has no identity of her own and has lived most of her life in bondage. When she interferes with a mission and meets a handsome stranger her life gets thrown of course for sometimes the worst and also for the better. This book has political intrigue, language/descriptions pulled from that time period which I loved, a dash of romance, battle/war, secret identity missions and so much more. I always wanted to know where the story was going to go next. I loved the growth the main character goes through as she discovers that she is more than just one thing and there is so much power in that. If you enjoy historical fiction with a Christianity element this is a choice I would not pass over. I maybe would have wanted a bit more romance but that’s me being choosy! Thank you to covenant pub for the ARC and AL Sowards for writing an amazing story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    What an original story! I read a lot of historical romance, but Thebes in the 14th century is a completely different setting. The young woman who becomes Eudocia is a slave and has been all her life. She's a strong character and longs to be free, but she's strangely loyal to her owner, who's taught her all she knows. She meets Gillen, who is a Basque, and he treats her with respect, not like she's a slave. I wasn't too sure of his motives at first but it soon becomes clear that he's a good man, What an original story! I read a lot of historical romance, but Thebes in the 14th century is a completely different setting. The young woman who becomes Eudocia is a slave and has been all her life. She's a strong character and longs to be free, but she's strangely loyal to her owner, who's taught her all she knows. She meets Gillen, who is a Basque, and he treats her with respect, not like she's a slave. I wasn't too sure of his motives at first but it soon becomes clear that he's a good man, working with others for a better purpose. There's action and intrigue, there's enough romance to satisfy, and I found the whole history behind the story super interesting. I read it in one go. I highly recommend this one for readers who are looking for something different. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    This book put me in the middle of 14th century Thebes, in a struggle for political power. The main character is a slave and has no name that she knows of. Her master calls her "girl" and his despicable nephew calls her "mouse". For part of the book she's known as Eudocia so that's how I'll refer to her for the rest of my review. Eudocia was sold as a child, doesn't remember either of her parents, and only guesses at how old she is by how long she's been owned by Thomas. She's been trained as a th This book put me in the middle of 14th century Thebes, in a struggle for political power. The main character is a slave and has no name that she knows of. Her master calls her "girl" and his despicable nephew calls her "mouse". For part of the book she's known as Eudocia so that's how I'll refer to her for the rest of my review. Eudocia was sold as a child, doesn't remember either of her parents, and only guesses at how old she is by how long she's been owned by Thomas. She's been trained as a thief and can slip in and out of places so quietly the term "mouse" does fit her. She's loyal to Thomas even though he's been cruel to her in the past, because without him she wouldn't have a place to sleep or food to eat. She's a strong person even though she's lived her life being subservient to others. While on a job for Thomas she meets Gillen, a Basque, who is unlike anyone Eudocia's met before. Thomas doesn't look down on her for being a slave--he sees her as a person and wants to help free her from slavery. She and Gillen end up working together on a plan to free the city of Thebes from outside rulers. This book is quite the adventure for the reader--I found it hard to put down, and when I wasn't reading it I was wondering what would happen next. We see what Eudocia's life is like as a slave, afraid of displeasing or disappointing her master and possibly being traded or sold to someone worse than her present master. We see her long for freedom and what she would do if she was ever free. We see her learn about having faith and hope and learning to pray. We see her meet a man (Gillen) who treats her with respect, something completely new to her, and has a friendship with him. This is a wonderful read and you can tell the author did a lot of research. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, Covenant Communications. All thoughts expressed in my review are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    This was just the sort of book I have been craving. Something different. The setting, the plot and the time period all felt fresh to me. I really loved it. The girl has no name. How sad is that? Names hold so much identity for us. Sold into slavery at a very young age and forced into situations that brought pain and misery, the girl knows much about the harder things in life but not so much about the good. Kindness, love and honesty are all foreign concepts to her. Then comes Gillen, who takes to This was just the sort of book I have been craving. Something different. The setting, the plot and the time period all felt fresh to me. I really loved it. The girl has no name. How sad is that? Names hold so much identity for us. Sold into slavery at a very young age and forced into situations that brought pain and misery, the girl knows much about the harder things in life but not so much about the good. Kindness, love and honesty are all foreign concepts to her. Then comes Gillen, who takes to calling her Eudocia and gives her a glimpse of what kindness and friendship look like. There was adventure, political intrigue, hold your breath moments and times where I didn't think I could stand the horrors anymore. The story moves along steadily, but not quickly. There is plenty of time to digest what is happening and understand the characters and what is developing between them and in the plot. This story is more of the other things and less of the romance. This author does such a good job with research and history. I can feel it all throughout the book. The attention to detail really helps set the stage in my mind so I can imagine it all. It was so good. I was excited to read that the author will be doing another book along these lines set some years down the road with some characters from this book making an appearance. Yay! Content: violence, peril. War time violence. Beatings, torture, some detail given but nothing prolonged or too detailed. References to using women in sexual ways but only generally and not specifically. One kiss. Some Christian elements. - I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bev Walkling

    One thing you can be sure of when reading a book by A.L. Sowards – you will come away having learned a lot about a time period different from your own. Of Sword and Shadow is no exception to this rule. I have always been interested in the history of early Greece, but until I started thinking about reading this book, I don’t think I had ever considered the medieval history of the country at all. In reading about England during this time period I knew about “serfs” but perhaps hadn’t thought of th One thing you can be sure of when reading a book by A.L. Sowards – you will come away having learned a lot about a time period different from your own. Of Sword and Shadow is no exception to this rule. I have always been interested in the history of early Greece, but until I started thinking about reading this book, I don’t think I had ever considered the medieval history of the country at all. In reading about England during this time period I knew about “serfs” but perhaps hadn’t thought of them explicitly as “slaves”. The main character and story teller of this book set in 1379 Thebes is indeed a slave. Of particular impact to me while reading this story, was that a person who was a slave might not even have a name other than “girl” or maybe “mouse”. They might know nothing about their background and have no choice whatsoever about the activities they must perform even if they involve theft or fraud. If they chose not to obey or failed in a command – punishment of some type was bound to follow, perhaps even being sold to a slave master who will use her in a brothel. It is hard to imagine how an individual could ever develop a healthy level of self-esteem under such circumstances or how they could live without hope of freedom at some point in the future. Our nameless slave is forced to take on many different names and characters throughout the novel. In doing so she learns new skills and meets new people and yet her natural intelligence and the “skills” that her owner Thomas raised her to have, make her the perfect person to have around in many dangerous circumstances. As the novel begins she is supposed to steal the seal of an important Greek personage. Through no fault of her own, she fails, but in failing she meets a man named Gillen who sees her as a person and gives her hope that maybe one day she will be able to buy her freedom and perhaps become an apprentice to a silk maker. He gives her some money that is intended to be just for her, and yet slaves own nothing. Anything that is given to them is automatically the property of their master. We hear the story through the voice of this slave girl and it is the kind of story that just grabs you and pulls you in to go along for the ride. I learned a whole new vocabulary and was thankful that Soward put in a handy glossary to help me master all the new words and a map too! Thebes was in a time of political upheaval. In a way it reminded me of modern history. Many people were unhappy with their current living circumstances and as a result, plots were underway to try and change leadership. These were the actions that our slave girl was drawn into. Her life and the lives of those she worked with were often at high risk. The book includes a description of torture. This is also a story of faith. When or slave girl first met the Gillen, the man who gave her hope, she didn’t know that she would meet him again and again – even having a chance to work with him. She learned his story, about the trials he had faced and how in surviving them he had made a promise to God, a promise that ultimately affected her and led her to make a promise of her own. This is not a book that screams religion at you, but the strength of the lives led by certain characters have an impact that is lifechanging for one young slave. It is a story of how she discovers who she is and what she wants her name to be. I loved it and if you like a book that includes action, adventure, love and a good ending all set in a fascinating time period, then I think you will enjoy this book too. I’m very grateful to the author and to #NetGalley and Covenant Communications for allowing me to read an advance copy of this book. All the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karen Thornell

    I am SO conflicted! Not because I have any question of how good this story was (It was SO good!), but because I want more! I don’t want to write a review because then I’m admitting it’s done. Sigh. Clearly, this book was wonderful. The story has the feel of a fantasy without a magic system but all the beauty of a beautifully crafted “world”. It isn’t my usual read, but I wanted something different so I picked it up before bed and read WAY more than I should have! I was so invested in everything— I am SO conflicted! Not because I have any question of how good this story was (It was SO good!), but because I want more! I don’t want to write a review because then I’m admitting it’s done. Sigh. Clearly, this book was wonderful. The story has the feel of a fantasy without a magic system but all the beauty of a beautifully crafted “world”. It isn’t my usual read, but I wanted something different so I picked it up before bed and read WAY more than I should have! I was so invested in everything—the plot, the characters, the romance—it was all incredibly well-done. The ability to weave research in with fiction was fantastic and I didn’t want to put it down. Gillen was the perfect male lead (though I’m still not sure I’m saying his name right haha) and Eudocia (the girl of many names--and no names) had me rooting for her from the beginning. She felt so real and I felt every heartache and frustration with her. The weaving in of romance was so well done as well. I kept getting nearer to the end and worrying that things wouldn’t get wrapped up as well as I’d like and that it might negate how much I enjoyed the rest of the book—but nope! A. L. Sowards tied things up wonderfully, and my only complaint is that I could have used 1 (or 7) more chapter to bask in the wonderful that was Eudocia and Gillen. As a side note: I was also a teeny bit sad that the synopsis led me to believe I would see the story from both perspectives, and felt a little jipped that I didn’t get into Gillen’s head. Still, I enjoyed every minute of this brilliant read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie W

    Phenomenal The Middle Ages are intriguing--knights, fair maidens, royalty. But what I haven't thought a lot about is the slavery situation during these times. Can you imagine remembering nothing before your time as a slave, not even knowing your own name? That's the situation this young girl, who later becomes Eudocia, finds herself in. With no hope of escape, a bond is formed with Gillen, and gradually, ambitions and ideas for a better life start to grow. This whole story is well-written and de Phenomenal The Middle Ages are intriguing--knights, fair maidens, royalty. But what I haven't thought a lot about is the slavery situation during these times. Can you imagine remembering nothing before your time as a slave, not even knowing your own name? That's the situation this young girl, who later becomes Eudocia, finds herself in. With no hope of escape, a bond is formed with Gillen, and gradually, ambitions and ideas for a better life start to grow. This whole story is well-written and delivered in a very appealing way. Sowards writes in a way that draws the reader right in to the dangers of the time and brings thoughts and feelings to the surface--things I've never pondered before. There are so many interesting facets to this story and the time period that captivated me--slavery, freedom, loyalties, to name a few--and Eudocia's story was inspiring. Both Gillen and Eudocia are strong, ingenious characters. The slices of intrigue blended with the inklings of hope and glimpses of romance, melded into an adventurous and moving tale that touched me. Content: PG-13 for mild romance (kissing, with some references to slavery, virginity, groping, seduction); moderate violence (war, torture, abuse) mild+ religion references **The author has a content warning on her website: https://alsowards.com/books/content/ *I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*

  12. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    I was intrigued first by the setting, as 1300's Greece is not something that I believe I have ever read about before, and this book was an excellent introduction of the time period. An action-packed read that follows an enslaved thief, without a name, called Mouse or Girl by her ambitious master, she is skilled in deception, thievery, and escape. Her small crew is hired to help over throw an empire, planting seeds of mistrust and destroying alliances. She is intrigued by a God who could forgive I was intrigued first by the setting, as 1300's Greece is not something that I believe I have ever read about before, and this book was an excellent introduction of the time period. An action-packed read that follows an enslaved thief, without a name, called Mouse or Girl by her ambitious master, she is skilled in deception, thievery, and escape. Her small crew is hired to help over throw an empire, planting seeds of mistrust and destroying alliances. She is intrigued by a God who could forgive even her gravest sins, and tempted by a love just out of reach, I admired her quick thinking and loyalty, as well as how she is willing to learn and longs for a more simple honest life. Well researched, this book vividly brings the physical and political landscape to life in a not oft written about time period. Gillen is a likable hero, dashing, and gentlemanly, willing to make sacrifices. A action-filled historical, that brings to life the conflicts of the time, with well written characters that spark curiosity, along with faith and romance! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charissa

    This 14th century thriller/romance takes place before and at the battle for Thebes from the Catalans. Eudocia is a slave girl who works for Thomas. She has no name but Mouse or Girl to her owner of 15 years, but when she plays the part of a fancy noblewoman named Eudocia, she meets Gillen, who is working for an opposing force. When they decide to join forces in paving the way for the overthrow of the Catalans from Thebes, so much more will be at stake than just their hearts. This was a fantastic This 14th century thriller/romance takes place before and at the battle for Thebes from the Catalans. Eudocia is a slave girl who works for Thomas. She has no name but Mouse or Girl to her owner of 15 years, but when she plays the part of a fancy noblewoman named Eudocia, she meets Gillen, who is working for an opposing force. When they decide to join forces in paving the way for the overthrow of the Catalans from Thebes, so much more will be at stake than just their hearts. This was a fantastic story, full of action, adventure, intrigue, surprising plot twists, evil villains, and romance. It kept me turning the pages super quick, wanting to know how they would get out of each predicament, and wondering if they would escape with their lives or not. It is intense and thrilling, also heartbreaking and inspiring. The themes of freedom and self-worth are explored, and it is a very fulfilling story as the characters grow, learn, make mistakes, and keep hoping for second chances. This story touches on a piece of history I knew absolutely nothing about, so that made it even more interesting to read about, and try to get a small glimpse into the past to learn lessons to use in the present to be better. I highly recommend this one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Crystal (Books Are Sanity!!!)

    Have you ever picked up a book and you just weren't sure what is was going to be like? This was that book for me. But let me tell you, the story just pulled me in and didn't let me go until the last word was read. Eudocia, Mouse, Girl, or whatever name she was going by at the moment, was such a complex and intriguing character. I could not believe the challenges she faced and what it was like for her to be enslaved for her entire life. I could feel her anguish, pain, and sorrow all while being i Have you ever picked up a book and you just weren't sure what is was going to be like? This was that book for me. But let me tell you, the story just pulled me in and didn't let me go until the last word was read. Eudocia, Mouse, Girl, or whatever name she was going by at the moment, was such a complex and intriguing character. I could not believe the challenges she faced and what it was like for her to be enslaved for her entire life. I could feel her anguish, pain, and sorrow all while being impressed with her skills at disguise. She was bold, brave, and made of the toughest mettle. The suspense in this book is unreal and off the charts. I felt like every time I could relax, then something else would happen. There was so much action that the story flew by. This historical suspense novel will keep you on the edge of your chair with your heart pounding until the very end! I received a copy of this book for free; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book was truly fascinating! I was completely taken in from the start by the intrigue of the main character, a slave who goes by whatever name suits her master's purposes at the time. The rich historical details Sowards provides also captivated me and really brought this story to life. I haven't read anything like this novel before. Set in Greece during the year 1379, I loved learning so much about a place and time and groups of people I really hadn't known about. History comes to life in a This book was truly fascinating! I was completely taken in from the start by the intrigue of the main character, a slave who goes by whatever name suits her master's purposes at the time. The rich historical details Sowards provides also captivated me and really brought this story to life. I haven't read anything like this novel before. Set in Greece during the year 1379, I loved learning so much about a place and time and groups of people I really hadn't known about. History comes to life in a real and moving way in Of Sword and Shadow. The heroine is amazing. She's a slave and she struggles throughout the story with what that has led her to choose in her life and her actions, but she grows and learns, and I loved her inner strength and integrity as a character. Gillen, okay, Gillen was just so wonderful! I loved his way of finding beauty in a world so full of chaos and pain. Let's just say I had some teary eyes at parts for Gillen, but was happy with how things ended and I have hope for both their characters. I love the way what it means to truly care for and love a person was depicted in this story. This book is a clean read with some Christian themes I found to be very compelling. While a clean read, I will note that the content may be difficult for some readers as this book deals with slavery and the brutality and reality of what that may have been like particularly for a female slave in the 14th century. There is a scene at a slave market and some references to what slaves may have experienced that may be uncomfortable for readers. There was no intimacy or descriptive references however, that would make this book inappropriate. The things referenced were for historical accuracy and I found that the author conveyed them tastefully and in a manner that educated and made me grateful for the day and age I live in. I received an advance reader copy of this novel. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This is definitely a book I see myself rereading and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Lambson

    It was intriguing. Full of mystery. I loved the depth of the characters. I was simultaneously cheering and wishing ill for the cast of amazing characters; all of which had deep-seated views on life and loyalty. Thank you, A.L. Sowards, for once again delivering a captivating read. Barbara Lambson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carro Herdegen

    Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG She doesn’t know what name her parents gave her or even how old she really is. What she does know is that those things don’t matter because she’s a slave; all she has to do is please her master, Thomas, by assisting him in the shady jobs he’s hired for. But then she encounters a man unlike any she has known because he is kind -- even to her -- and makes her feel that she has worth beyond her skills. Can it be true? Sowards took a re Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG She doesn’t know what name her parents gave her or even how old she really is. What she does know is that those things don’t matter because she’s a slave; all she has to do is please her master, Thomas, by assisting him in the shady jobs he’s hired for. But then she encounters a man unlike any she has known because he is kind -- even to her -- and makes her feel that she has worth beyond her skills. Can it be true? Sowards took a real historical event and wove her imagined characters through the known pieces to create an engaging story of subterfuge, sacrifice, and self-discovery. I loved following the main character as she did what she knew -- and was successful at -- while struggling internally, when she was free to decide for herself, if what she was good at was what she wanted. While not on the same scale, we all need to self-evaluate and make that choice for ourselves: do I stay as I am or can I work for something greater? Whether readers want an exciting book of action or some food for thought, this book will deliver. The mature content rating is for innuendo, nudity, and groping. Reviewed for https://kissthebook.blogspot.com/

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I have read a lot of historical romance. But I have never read one quite like this one by A.L. Sowards. I love that she picked a time period that was not one usually picked. And I really loved the extra historical information she added, both at the begining and the end. One thing that was really interesting about this book is that the main character doesn’t have a name. I’ve never seen that done in a book before, but this author did a great job with that. The main character is fantastic. The read I have read a lot of historical romance. But I have never read one quite like this one by A.L. Sowards. I love that she picked a time period that was not one usually picked. And I really loved the extra historical information she added, both at the begining and the end. One thing that was really interesting about this book is that the main character doesn’t have a name. I’ve never seen that done in a book before, but this author did a great job with that. The main character is fantastic. The reader sees the whole book through her eyes. Because she’s kind of an unseen slave throughout most of the book, she has a really great view of everything that happens. I love that she has a sense of honor, even though she’s been raised as a theif. Gillen is kind of the hero of the book. He goes out of his way to help our heroine. I loved the way he doesn’t see her as the lowest of the low. And he is able to see past who she appears to be, to really see the woman inside and learn to love her. After reading this one, I have so many questions. Things I’d love to find out about the backgrounds of both of the characters. And it’d be kind of fun to learn more about this time period as well. I guess I’ve got some reasearch to do! I was sent a copy of Of Sword and Shadow as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I received a free copy of this story from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. To survive a harsh reality, a slave give must use her skill and whit to survive. She takes the names of the roles she is forced to play, even though she does not have the privilege of her own name. A.L. Sowards is another first-time author for me and reading Of Sword and Shadow is an adventure I will not soon forget. The author weaved an exciting tale of danger, romance, and faith from the first page to the last. I received a free copy of this story from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. To survive a harsh reality, a slave give must use her skill and whit to survive. She takes the names of the roles she is forced to play, even though she does not have the privilege of her own name. A.L. Sowards is another first-time author for me and reading Of Sword and Shadow is an adventure I will not soon forget. The author weaved an exciting tale of danger, romance, and faith from the first page to the last. Though the book is not short, the gripping plot and strong characters took me on a face-paced historical journey. I enjoyed the Biblical parallels that reminds readers of God’s character, love, and the sacrifice He made to purchase our freedom. They story was not only enjoyable, but also made me really think of the of freedom, what is costs and what is taken for granted. If you enjoy historical, action-packed, inspirational fiction I highly recommend this book. 4.7/5

  20. 5 out of 5

    Holly Bleggi

    Great book by A. L. Sowards. I learned a lot about Thebes that I did not know. I loved how she told this story about a slave who was forced to be a thief and how she got out of that. I also liked how she wrote about a time in Thebes history where not much is known but I liked how she included these characters as if they played a big part in how power changed hands. I also liked that there was a little romance in the story but it wasn’t the whole focus. I thought she did a great job. I received a Great book by A. L. Sowards. I learned a lot about Thebes that I did not know. I loved how she told this story about a slave who was forced to be a thief and how she got out of that. I also liked how she wrote about a time in Thebes history where not much is known but I liked how she included these characters as if they played a big part in how power changed hands. I also liked that there was a little romance in the story but it wasn’t the whole focus. I thought she did a great job. I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    From the turn of the first page, AL Sowards will capture the attention of her readers with medieval adventure filled romance, Of Sword and Shadow. Readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next. Readers will be drawn to this fast paced 1379 Grecian danger filled story about a young slave and her many “faces” as a talented theif. This is a coming to know oneself type of story that readers will resonate with. This story focuses on the sad reality of slavery, as well as From the turn of the first page, AL Sowards will capture the attention of her readers with medieval adventure filled romance, Of Sword and Shadow. Readers will be on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next. Readers will be drawn to this fast paced 1379 Grecian danger filled story about a young slave and her many “faces” as a talented theif. This is a coming to know oneself type of story that readers will resonate with. This story focuses on the sad reality of slavery, as well as choosing where loyalties lie and the hope of freedom. A well-written, well-researched, and engaging story that readers will absolutely not want to put down. Genre: historical, romance, medieval, adventure, romance Publisher: Covenant Communications Publication date: February 8, 2021 Number of pages: 251 Disclosure statement: A complimentary review copy of this book was provided from tour groups, publishers, publicists, and authors, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, Or borrowed from Kindle Unlimited OR pre-ordered/purchased for review. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doreen Blair

    OF SWORD AND SHADOW A. L. SOWARDS I received this from Net Galley for the purpose of review. I so enjoyed this book and found it quite interesting. A slave girl in Greece, 1379, has no. name except "Mouse". She has been with the same man basically her entire life. He is desiring to create political mayhem and she is used to be a thief of info and items to help his cause. She is quite good and he depends on her tremendously. Failure is not an option and will lead to severe treatment should that h OF SWORD AND SHADOW A. L. SOWARDS I received this from Net Galley for the purpose of review. I so enjoyed this book and found it quite interesting. A slave girl in Greece, 1379, has no. name except "Mouse". She has been with the same man basically her entire life. He is desiring to create political mayhem and she is used to be a thief of info and items to help his cause. She is quite good and he depends on her tremendously. Failure is not an option and will lead to severe treatment should that happen. She encounters a man who treats her as a person and not just a tool for helping him in his pursuits of political mayhem. He is kind and her head tells her she cannot like him because of her owner. But she greatly appreciates his thoughtful and respectful behavior. Some times goes by and "Mouse" meets the nice man again and actually saves his life. From that point on there are many adventures to be had and life changes with her owner and Gillen, the nice man, gives her a name Eudocia. She ultimately tries to save him again and now things change again

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laramee

    A.L. Sowards is one of my favorite historical fiction authors! I love her grasp on history and how she weaves her stories around the facts. This 14th century story did not disappoint! I can't wait to see what comes next! I received an ARC from the publisher and all opinions are my own. A.L. Sowards is one of my favorite historical fiction authors! I love her grasp on history and how she weaves her stories around the facts. This 14th century story did not disappoint! I can't wait to see what comes next! I received an ARC from the publisher and all opinions are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Excel Andy

    This book deserves 10 bright stars from me. Just look at the book cover, isn’t it calling for you to turn the pages and unearth the adventures within? What an interesting adventure into the plot. The author’s imagination is so great and real. I love the main protagonists. Gillen and Eudocia made me to return back to this book at any spare time in my hands. You will feel your heart thumping and beating at each scene that seems dangerous. It was like an action movie. The settings of this book intrigued This book deserves 10 bright stars from me. Just look at the book cover, isn’t it calling for you to turn the pages and unearth the adventures within? What an interesting adventure into the plot. The author’s imagination is so great and real. I love the main protagonists. Gillen and Eudocia made me to return back to this book at any spare time in my hands. You will feel your heart thumping and beating at each scene that seems dangerous. It was like an action movie. The settings of this book intrigued me. In summary, I love this book and I highly recommend it to anybody seeking for an exciting book that captures all your whole emotions. I would love to read other works by this same author. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Covenant Communications through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are mine.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather Pluim

    I couldn't put it down. Definitely a new favorite! I couldn't put it down. Definitely a new favorite!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    #OfSwordAndShadow #NetGalley I didn't want this book to end. A girl with no name, only known as Girl or Mouse. As a thief and a slave, she has been belittled and told she was worth nothing, what she earns is given to her owner Thomas. Thomas is all she knows, as he raised her since she was very young. This story is set in Thebes, during the middle ages. A story that is dark and full of betrayals. I haven't read much about this time period, this book held me captive and I had to keep reading. A w #OfSwordAndShadow #NetGalley I didn't want this book to end. A girl with no name, only known as Girl or Mouse. As a thief and a slave, she has been belittled and told she was worth nothing, what she earns is given to her owner Thomas. Thomas is all she knows, as he raised her since she was very young. This story is set in Thebes, during the middle ages. A story that is dark and full of betrayals. I haven't read much about this time period, this book held me captive and I had to keep reading. A word of warning, there is descriptive violence and slavery in this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

    Wow. Just wow. This original and captivating story set in 14th century Greece is a perfect example of why I love historical fiction! The woman known simply as Mouse or Girl has grown up a slave and longs for freedom. While stealing for her master, she meets Gillen, a man who is more than he seems and she is surprised when he treats her not as a slave, but as an equal. Together they become embroiled in a political movement that may cost them everything they want. The historical details are fascin Wow. Just wow. This original and captivating story set in 14th century Greece is a perfect example of why I love historical fiction! The woman known simply as Mouse or Girl has grown up a slave and longs for freedom. While stealing for her master, she meets Gillen, a man who is more than he seems and she is surprised when he treats her not as a slave, but as an equal. Together they become embroiled in a political movement that may cost them everything they want. The historical details are fascinating and bring this story to life. I was engrossed by the intrigue, the action, and the sweet romance. I was grateful for the author's glossary at the beginning of the book and it only took me a few chapters to wrap my head around the new words and places. I loved the character arc for Eudocia and the poignant Christian themes introduced as she struggles to find hope and meaning in her life. If I could pick one thing to change about the book, I would have loved to have it told from Gillen's point of view as well. This book is very tastefully done but there are necessary elements included surrounding the life of a slave that are best left for a mature audience. If you are in a reading slump or simply looking for something different from your every day read, this book is for you! I received a complimentary copy of this book but a positive review was not required.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    If you’re looking for a new novel to start 2021 off right, then look no further than A.L. Sowards, Of Sword and Shadow. This novel is a unique work of Historical Fiction that will take you on an intriguing journey back in time through the streets of Thebes during Medieval times. There you will meet a beautiful young slave, a Greek woman referred to only as mouse or girl, trained to do or be whatever her owner asks of her. A thief, a warrior, a political spy, the young woman complies with what is If you’re looking for a new novel to start 2021 off right, then look no further than A.L. Sowards, Of Sword and Shadow. This novel is a unique work of Historical Fiction that will take you on an intriguing journey back in time through the streets of Thebes during Medieval times. There you will meet a beautiful young slave, a Greek woman referred to only as mouse or girl, trained to do or be whatever her owner asks of her. A thief, a warrior, a political spy, the young woman complies with what is demanded, for she is not free and has no life of her own. When her master is commissioned to steal papers from a prominent gentleman, the young woman is ordered to perform the theft. It is on this particular mission she meets a handsome stranger named Gillen and her life will never be the same. As the two are thrown together time and again, a bond of friendship develops and grows to something more. When the young woman, who Gillen has taken to calling Eudocia, finds themselves involved in a dangerous political plot to change the future of Thebes, Eudocia can’t imagine being anywhere, but Gillen’s side. As their last journey together grows dark and perilous, only time will tell if their love can survive. Of Sword and Shadow has everything you would want in a historical fiction novel. It’s a book filled with intrigue, suspense, danger and romance. There were times when I could not put it down. The characters were so well written and the story-line flowed from one chapter to the next. One of my favorite characters was Eudocia. She was so well written that you felt her fear, her joy and her pain. My favorite character was Gillen. He was a gentleman, a warrior and a protector, especially when it came to Eudocia. All the supporting characters were wonderful, especially Rasheed and the archbishop. It was a cast of characters I won’t soon forget. So, if you like Christian or Historical Fiction, Of Sword and Shadows by A.L. Sowards will be a novel that you’ll really enjoy. It has plenty of action, suspense and emotion to keep the pages turning. A great novel to help chase those winter blues away! I want to thank NetGalley and Covenant Communications for an advanced reader copy of Sword and Shadow by A.L. Sowards. “Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "Of Sword and Shadow" is a romance and adventure set in 1379 in Greece. The characters were well-developed, complex, interesting, and I cared about what happened to them. Gillen's a Christian and a soldier who has sworn a vow to God to help the innocent, so he's doing what he can to remove bad rulers from power. Eudocia had never been valued let alone loved, but she began to see her worth and see herself as more than just a slave because Gillen treated her that way. She had to obey her master wh "Of Sword and Shadow" is a romance and adventure set in 1379 in Greece. The characters were well-developed, complex, interesting, and I cared about what happened to them. Gillen's a Christian and a soldier who has sworn a vow to God to help the innocent, so he's doing what he can to remove bad rulers from power. Eudocia had never been valued let alone loved, but she began to see her worth and see herself as more than just a slave because Gillen treated her that way. She had to obey her master who warned her away from Gillen, but she was still hired to help with this political scheme and increasingly became a vital part of it. The adventure involved many suspenseful scenes of them using very creative ways to barely manage to get out of serious trouble. The historical details about the political takeover were woven into the story with many unknown details added by the author. Eudocia was also introduced to the forgiveness and second chances offered by Jesus Christ. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting, enjoyable novel. I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marie Holm-Sandnes

    i have come to know that people must follow their hearts, regardless of wether it is logical -Archbishop If you need a quick read i highly reccomend this book. It is fast Pages and as the story goes on, you want to know more about the characrers. I loved this book. It was so dark. But it comes with a little trigger warning if you sont want to read about beating, slave selling and nudity. There is also a little bit of a romance. And what the archbishop said, is not technocally a spoiler, But my i have come to know that people must follow their hearts, regardless of wether it is logical -Archbishop If you need a quick read i highly reccomend this book. It is fast Pages and as the story goes on, you want to know more about the characrers. I loved this book. It was so dark. But it comes with a little trigger warning if you sont want to read about beating, slave selling and nudity. There is also a little bit of a romance. And what the archbishop said, is not technocally a spoiler, But my favorite quote of the book, cus it gave me such father brown vibes of what he could have said.

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