Publication date:26th June 2012
As the King's assassin Dante Chiavari is a master of disguise, on his final mission before his long awaited return to Venice he must convince Avalene de Forshay he is the chivalrous knight Sir Percival sent by her brother to take her to her betrothed.
Avalene is very much a pawn in her family, the Segrave's and the King's plans, promised to Faulke Segrave, Dante must ensure that the planned nuptials do not take place as with Avalene's connections Segrave plans to lead a civil war to overthrow the King.
I don't tend to read a lot of historical fiction but I was absolutely engrossed in The Dark Knight. Initially it took a while to understand all the political and royal background information but when Dante and Avalene met I knew the story was a winner.
As an assassin Dante is a dark character who has been hell bent on revenge for most of his adult life and is therefore not exactly obvious hero material. His initial reaction to Avalene and his growing feelings for her took him very much by surprise, he doesn't believe that he deserves any goodness or kindness in his life and it's obvious that what started out as Dante pretending to be an honourable knight actually becomes a reality as he falls in love with Avalene.
Avelene's sexual awakening on her escape with Dante was very well played out, adding a nice little bit of spice to the story but never overwhelming it. I think I gnawed down to my fingertips waiting for the inevitable wait, your NOT Sir Percival??? but like Avelene I had fallen a little bit in love with Dante and could see his good side too.
Although this is book four in a series (I didn't realise that when I started reading it) it could definitely be read as a standalone. I enjoyed my venture into the world of historical fiction even if the image of the Sir Galahad the knight from Monty Python's The Holy Grail with the servant behind him clip clopping with the coconut shells slipped into my mind a few times at the first mention of a chivalrous knight!
Thanks to Net galley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review The Dark Knight.