By Right of Blood, by Lorrieann Russell

Synopsis:

William Fylbrigge is ill prepared to claim what is his by right of blood, and his place among the powerful clan he has been born into. His older brother Thomas doesn’t want to share what he thinks is rightfully his, secretly arranging to have the young lad killed in a convenient “accident.” William could lose everything, including his life.

A post from Lorrieann:

I ‘met’ William twelve years ago, when he appeared fully formed in my mind on a sunny October afternoon. He walked into my head, introduced himself, and made it clear that he would not rest until I had written the story of his life and adventures. With such a handsome and charming captor as my muse, I really didn’t mind becoming a hostage to his story.

William soon introduced me to his family; Thomas, his older, abusive and greedy brother; Bryndah, Thomas’s wife, who became William’s foster mother and tormentor throughout his childhood; Edward of Stonehaven, Bryndah’s father, and the man William would eventually learn to call ‘father’; Sean Wilbrun, a lad not much older than himself, who became his good friend and protector; Laurel, the serving girl who showed him there is more to life than fear and woe; Elinor, the woman who cared for him and eventually sets him on the path that shaped his entire future; and of course, Mehlyndia, the daughter of Edward, sister of Bryndah, and the woman he fell in love with.

Early childhood traumas etched themselves into William’s psyche, delivering memories that both bolstered his determination to fight for the defenseless, and weakened his resolve and own self confidence at the same time. By nature, William is a gentle soul, who left to his own choice would rather sit with his lute and his poetry than tend to the whims of his Lords and Kings. But he is a man of his times, and is quite capable with a sword, is willing to fight to any length to defend those he loves, and those who cannot fight for himself.  In By Right of Blood, we watch the young child grow from a shivering pup into a strong, confident — and somewhat reckless — young man, ready to take on his brother to fight for what is rightfully his.

William’s story arcs over the course of three novels.   We see the child become a man in By Right of Blood.   His story continues in My Brother’s Keeper, where he begins on top of the world, confident, cocky, well-liked by the people of Stonehaven, and well loved by his lady, his foster father, and his best friend, Sean Wilbrun.  By all outward appearances, William has completely overcome the damaging effects of his childhood.  He’s found his voice and his cause, and lets no one temper his quest to rid his world of the tyranny of the witch hunts.  But he is not free from his brother’s hatred or jealousy, and when Thomas and Bryndah re-enter his life, it is evident that the damaged child he once was, is still alive and well within his mind.  By the end of My Brother’s Keeper, his life has turned on end and he brought to the nadir of his life.

William is complex. He’s a survivor. In modern times, we would call him an adult survivor of child abuse, dealing with undiagnosed PTSD. Every stage of his life, he is confronted with challenges, and the decisions he makes depend upon which of the demons of his past are playing in his mind— will he be strong, or will he crumble?

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