Driven by Duty, by Mia West
Series: Sons of Britain, Book 3
Release Date: September 13, 2018
A warlord’s daughter has responsibilities. No one knows that better than Gwen, only daughter and political pawn of her father, Uthyr. But with her husband banished and her brother gone after him, Gwen isn’t leaving her fate in Uthyr’s hands one moment longer. She needs someone she can trust. Luckily, her lover Elain is the most courageous, loyal, honest woman she knows.
Elain has a secret, and helping Gwen run away will only bring them closer to exposing the truth: that Elain too is the daughter of a powerful warlord—and his only heir. Now her best chance to give Gwen a secure future is to reclaim her birthright. But doing so would mean confronting the father she fled years ago.
Meanwhile, Arthur’s restlessness amid the tedium of a winter border camp draws Bedwyr into risks that could inspire men to swear their swords…or destroy the tenuous alliances holding the Saxons at bay.
DRIVEN BY DUTY is the 3rd novel of the SONS OF BRITAIN series, featuring four people whose unconventional bonds will forge the core of a legendary war band…
…and introducing a fifth, whose arrival will change the course of everything.
Note: This book includes instances of deadnaming of its transgender heroine, Elain. Readers sensitive to this act may find more information on the book’s page at the author’s website.
F/F and M/M Pairings
Lesbian and Gay Characters
Content Warning for: Use of Deadname (see author’s note in blurb)
Driven by Duty was a long time coming in all the best ways, being the third installment in the author’s Sons of Britain series, a brilliantly queer retelling of Arthurian lore. If you’re new to the series, have no fear if (like me) you only have passing knowledge of the tales of King Arthur and his court – my only word of advice for you to enjoy this series is to read it in order.
Conversely, if (also like me) it’s been a while since you read the first two books, have no fear because Driven by Duty kicks off right where Bound by Blood left off – and thoughtfully comes equipped with handy-dandy refreshers in the opening scenes. I was able to get up to speed on Arthur, Bedwyn, Gwen and Elain’s latest antics in no time at all.
Unfortunately, the pace slowed quite noticeably just as soon as I was settling in. West’s writing is as strong as I remember, but the story did hit a bit of a lull as the two couples settled into their new roles eking out new beginnings for themselves. Fortunately, my patience was rewarded when the story picked up again about a third of the way in.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this book, not least of which was the natural ease in which the author captured the physical passion between Gwen and Elena. Both characters were multi-faceted and I relished discovering their many sides to them as their story unfolded. I really enjoyed watching Gwen’s independent spirit take flight as a warlord’s daughter away from home for the first time. And it was easy to fall in love with how badass Elena was (particularly with a weapon in hand!), but she had a vulnerability to her as well that I appreciated.
I also loved that Arthur and Bedwyn remained prominent figures in the tale, being inextricably linked with the women despite veering down a slightly different path. My absolute favorite thing was watching their escapades unfold at camp and the men’s reaction to them. It was a great reminder that together, they were a force to be reckoned with and I also enjoyed the way Arthur grew subtly but surely into a leadership role.
As I mentioned earlier, I only have a passing familiarity with the legends of King Arthur and his knights but it was still a delightful read, especially when I was able to match characters in the book with names from the myths. West has a real knack for bringing that period to life in a very palatable yet realistic way. I especially loved the twists and creative license she took with all the characters, most notably with Elain’s backstory.
Despite their trials and sacrifices, Driven by Duty was very much a joyful read and I love the way the author wove everyone’s happy endings together. And finally, a special mention goes out to the cast of side characters. The glimpses we got set the stage for more books down the road, and that final teaser in particular was especially tasty, hinting at a May-December romance between a hardened mercenary and a bold young squire, whose names I won’t spoil for you just in case you’re well-versed in Arthurian lore.
I strike rough heroes against each other until they spark. I write historical romance, with occasional forays into paranormal and contemporary. When not writing, I love to read, hike, and travel. Super powers include parallel parking and map reading. I take my wine red, my whisky rye, and my brownie from the middle of the pan.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.