The novel's hero Christian Donatus Severn, the eighth Earl of of Mercia, was captured by the French, tortured and left for dead. The Captive is an intense, moving story which deals with the aftereffects of war and one man's healing process. The novel contains a very wonderfully written romance which will make you believe that people can put their troubles behind them, hearts can mend and love does exist.
Christian wasn't precisely glad to be alive. Surviving torture turned a man into a ghost toting a bag of memories that could not be shared, and inhabiting a body no longer reliable or easily maintained. That body after torture, did not sleep well, did not exert itself unproblematically, did not ingest food easily, and certainly could not be relied upon to deal with amatory pastimes--not that Christian would be indulging in any of those.
Not soon. Not immediately.
But the hour he'd spent with his daughter made it plain that the child, at least, was delighted her papa had survived, and this changed the complexion of Christian's existence.
Ms. Burrowes drew me into this complex story with her characters. The first few chapters of the novel are intense, dark and at the same time very compelling. Christian was both a nobleman and an officer. Why wasn't he rescued? What was the motive behind the capture, the torture and starvation?
A nervous Gillian, Lady Greensdale visits Christian in London shortly after he returns to England. She is concerned about Lucy, Christian's daughter. Lucy has not spoken a word to anyone since the deaths of her mother and younger brother. Why can't Lucy speak? Is she injured? Did she see something when her mother died? Why is Lady Greensdale so nervous?
Each of the main characters was held captive in the story. During his imprisonment, Christian refused to speak and focused on revenge to get through the torture and humiliation. Gilly suffered in silence. Lucy withdrew into her own silent world after her mother's death.
Looking forward to The Traitor, the second book in the series.
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
This review by Susan Gorman originally appeared at Fresh Fiction.