By TK Roxborogh.
Bloodlines is the second book in the Banquo's Son Trilogy, in which the first, Banquo's Son, has recently won the Young Adult Fiction category in the LIANZA Book Awards. Although Bloodlines is aimed at the young adult market, it is a cross over book that is a great read for adults too.
Tania Roxborogh has taken the events in Shakespeare's Macbeth and followed the story of Fleance, the young son of the murdered Banquo. In Bloodlines Fleance is now the king of Scotland, a young and inexperienced king who finds himself to some extent at sea with the politics of such a position and having to deal with rebel uprisings, lead by Magness, the man who raised him to adulthood and who he loves like a father. His betrothed, Rachel, is kidnapped by Callum, the king of Norway and Fleance has to make hard decisions as what he personally must confront first. As you can imagine, as in any kingdom, he has his detractors and his loyal followers, and you're never sure quite who is in which camp.
This is based on part of Macbeth, and as is fitting there is ever the work of the three witches in the background spreading their visions and poisoning minds, leaving a sense of foreboding and mysticism. We get to see the world from Rachel's eyes too, abducted and maltreated. We see how she copes with the very real prospect of her own mortality and her strengths shining through.
I really enjoyed meeting the historical figures in this novel, and you can see the writer has done her homework in creating a vision of life in the mid-eleventh century. This is written as a stand alone novel, but I felt I benefited from having read the first in the series and in having full knowledge of the character's background and how far they had come since their carefree days of youth, before the burden of being King. But even without that knowledge Bloodlines stands on its own as a gripping and enjoyable story of love, honour, betrayal and duty. Can't wait for Birthright.