For Honor
Kat Jaske
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Buy *For Honor (By Honor Bound, Book One)* by Kat Jaskeonline

For Honor (By Honor Bound, Book One)
Kat Jaske
Infinity Publishing
269 pages
June 2004
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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What do you look for in a swashbuckling adventure? Musketeers protecting king and country, sword fights, quick rescues, plot twists, women masquerading as men? For Honor is a continuation of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, set several months after Dumas' book and starring the four famous musketeers, as well as their famous nemeses.

For Honor starts when a spy, the Marquis Thomas d'Anlass, is fleeing towards France with his young son Christophe and finds shelter with an old friend. The father and son are forced to part ways, and Christophe returns to his father's estate to France. A few years later, in 1638, the four famous musketeers - Athos, Aramis, Porthos and D'Artagnan - are given an assignment to escort a caravan to Marseille. A storm forces them to take shelter in d'Anlass's castle, where young Christophe welcomes them. Shortly, D'Artagnan finds out that the young lad is in truth a young woman named Laurel. The marquis has taken his daughter with him on his missions, so the woman is quite an accomplished spy and swordswoman. D'Artagnan agrees to keep her secret.

However, Laurel's father returns the next night, gives his daughter an important task and leaves again. She dresses up again as a lad to take important documents to Marseille. There her father's trusted friend gives her even more documents to deliver to Calais, despite the fact that there are enemies at her heels. She runs into the musketeers and reluctantly tells them her story. The men are overly protective of her, until she saves Athos' life and so proves her skills. Then the four musketeers and Laurel continue their mission to foil the plans of France's enemies.

At the same time, Cardinal Richeliu sends men to capture Laurel and retrieve the documents that would seal his alliance with the Duke of Buckingham. Milady de Winter survived her fall to the river and is now plotting against the four musketeers and Laurel. She has one advantage against Laurel: they are stepsisters, so Milady knows quite a lot about Laurel and her habits. Both the cardinal and Milady send mercenaries and assassins on the trail of the intrepid five.

Even though the book takes some liberties with The Three Musketeers as well as historical accuracy, it is quite an enjoyable yarn. Jaske's writing style is quite economical, suitable for a fast pace. Her scenes are short and skip quickly from one person to the next. Laurel, the musketeers, Richeliu, Milady and some other sinister people all act as point-of-view characters.

Laurel is quick-tempered, proud, and stubborn, an entertaining character even though she appears somewhat like a fan-fiction character. She is an atypical female for 17th-century France, tomboyish and more comfortable in male clothes and on a horse than dancing at a ball.

I was a bit jarred by Jaske's use of French words in dialogue every now and then, especially her tendency to include the translation afterwards. The characters are supposedly speaking in French, so there is no need to them to say the word twice. Also, her sentence structures are sometimes awkward.

The first book in the "By Honor Bound" series, For Honor works well as a stand-alone book.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Mervi Hamalainen, 2007

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