Friday, September 27, 2013

Blog Tour: Book Review/Giveaway!! Knight Blindness, by Chris Karlsen

Welcome to the Knight Blindness
Book Tour, sponsored by
Innovative Online Book Tours!!

Knight Blindness
(Knights In Time #3)
Chris Karlsen
Trade Paperback, 394 pages
CreateSpace, July 30, 2013
Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fantasy

The idea of time travel -- whether to the past or the future -- has always fascinated me.  Throw in some romance, and I'm sold!  That's precisely what this novel is about, although the traveling is not scientifically detailed, remaining something of a mystery. 

This is the third novel in Karlsen's "Knights In Time" series, which describes the adventures of several medieval knights who suddenly find themselves in the 21st century, without knowing how, except that there's a time portal somewhere....  

In spite of being the third novel, Knight Blindness can be read by itself, since the author provides some clues as to what's going on, and characters from the previous two novels also appear in this one.

Two enemy knights, one English, the other French, fight each other during the Battle of Poitiers, in France.  The year is 1356, A.D.  The English knight, Stephen Palmer, had been given a mysterious prophecy about a knight bearing certain colors and heraldic symbols.  Upon encountering that very knight, he hesitates....and is struck down by him.  The lethal blow is delivered by the Frenchman, Roger Marchand.

Both knights are suddenly transported to the present year -- 2013.  Stephen is lying on the ground at the edge of the scene of the famous battle, and is found by some locals, who call an ambulance.  Meanwhile, Roger materializes in the midst of a dense cluster of trees, not far from where Stephen is lying....

Although I was indeed attracted to this book by the plot, I must admit that I was not initially comfortable reading the story.  That's because Stephen is permanently blinded by the blow he suffered at the hands of Marchand, whose sword hit Stephen's helm in such a way that it injured his eyes.  Karlsen actually described the extent of Palmer's injury.  I saw that coming, and skipped over that part completely.  Still, it wasn't easy for me to go on....

Despite my initial discomfort, I'm glad I persisted with this book.  I was rewarded with a wonderful cast of characters, as well as an intriguing plot that really captured my interest!

Stephen Palmer is a very engaging, fascinating character.  Being a knight, and thus, bound by a code of honor, he's very proud and stalwart.  From the very beginning, he attempts to be independent, to do as much for himself as he possibly can.  This is very admirable.  It also means that he's very stubborn, resisting help from his friends (who have also traveled in time) whenever he thinks he can cope on his own.  He's also a very sweet, chivalrous man.  He is very much attracted to Esme Crippen, the tutor his friends Guy and Basil have hired to teach him about historical developments since the 14th century.  At one point, he even insists that Esme's boyfriend come to the door to escort her to his car for a date, instead of blowing the horn and waiting for her to come out.  I found this enchanting!  How many men do that nowadays?  Not many....

Another wonderful thing about Stephen is that he has a beautiful tenor voice.  He happens to come across the songs from "The Phantom of the Opera", and starts learning them.  Eventually, he can sing them by heart, and his interpretations are indeed very musically competent!

I really liked Esme as the perfect woman for Stephen.  She's initially reluctant to take on the assignment, especially since she's been told that Stephen is not 'quite right in the head'.  His friends think it's best for Esme not to know the truth; they fear she won't be able to take it.  

Esme also doubts, in the beginning, that she'll be able to teach a blind man.  However, all her doubts are swept aside when she meets Stephen.  Although this is not a case of "insta-love", there is an attraction, mostly on Stephen's part, from the start.  Esme slowly warms up to him, however.  She finds him totally charming, if rather stubborn.  He insists on going horseback riding, for instance, something she thinks might be too dangerous for him to attempt, even if she does accompany him.  I found her worrying over him very touching. 

As for Roger Marchand, he is Stephen's avowed enemy.  Once he learns that he and Stephen have traveled in time to the future, he becomes intent on finding Stephen and returning with him to the year 1356, so that he (Roger) can warn the French king, thus assuring victory for France at the Battle of Poitiers.  He is relentless in his pursuit of the English knight.  

Although Marchand is also chivalrous and bound by a code of honor, his fanaticism in attempting to change history makes him a less than likable character.  However, there are moments in the novel when his softer side comes through, and I did feel touched by this aspect of his personality.  He has sustained a major loss in his past, which has perhaps really influenced his worldview.  He hides his pain through force of will, as I imagine most men similarly affected do.  

The minor characters in this novel (who are major characters in the previous two books) are also very well drawn.  I like the way they take care that Stephen's needs are met, that he is comfortable and safe.  Sometimes Stephen rebels against their concern, but it's understandable that, since they're genuine friends, they would worry about him and want to prevent any harm coming to him, since he now has a disability.

Karlsen makes this story very believable, having gone to quite a bit of trouble to acquaint herself with procedures and techniques used to help the blind.  She has also researched the historical period well. Stephen and Roger come across as realistic medieval knights, although at times I think they sound much too modern.  However, they do have a definitely outdated view of the world, so this contributes to making them believable, even if they don't always sound like 14th-century warriors.

The pacing of the novel varies throughout.  It starts off with battlefield action.  Then, when the two knights are mysteriously transported to the 21st century, it slows down as Stephen begins the process of recovery and adaptation to his disability.  There's also the gradual unfolding of the romance between Stephen and Esme.  Then the action steps up again as the French knight's hunt gets under way.

All in all, I found this to be a very enjoyable novel, in spite of my initial discomfort.  Time travel fans will really appreciate Karlsen's attention to historical details, while those who love romance with something 'extra' will also find this a great read! 

Now I'd like to go back and read the two previous books in the series!  I need to find out all about the other knights' adventures and romances in time!! 


Reviewer's Note
I'd like to thank
Innovative Online Book Tours
for including me in
this tour, as well as for
providing the book in exchange for
an honest review.

Purchase Links

About the Author

I was born and raised in Chicago.  My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader.  I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed on to me.  I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me.  I've had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective.  I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement, with two different agencies.  My desire to write came in my early teens.  After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream.  I write two different series.  My paranormal series is titled "Knights In Time".  My romantic thriller series is titled "Dangerous Waters".

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, four rescue dogs, and a rescue horse.

Chris Karlsen Online

Book Trailer


Knights In Time Series: Books 1 & 2

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  1. Good morning,
    I want to thank Maria for taking the time to read Knight Blindness and for the terrific review.
    Chris Karlsen

    1. Hi, Chris!

      You're very welcome! Thank you for providing me with a printed copy to read, since I don't like e-books. And thanks for an enjoyable story!!

      Also, thank you so much for visiting and leaving such a nice comment!! I greatly appreciate your complimenting my review!! : )

  2. Maria Hi,
    Are you aware that you won a gift for your comment on my review of Aloha Mozart, reviewed on my blog for Novel Publicity. I am so stoked. :) check you mail

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Oh, thanks for letting me know! I've checked my emails, and have already contacted Em!! I'm VERY excited, too!!! : )

  3. I loved the book and was so lucky to be a part of this tour! Thanks Chris for an excellent romantic story!!
    cc_clubbs at yahoo dot com

    1. Hi, Cindi!

      Yes, it was indeed an excellent romantic story! Be sure to check out Chris's other books in the series!

      Thanks for commenting!! : )


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