Musketeer Arnaud de Sillègue d’Athos is ready to bid adieu to the King's Guard and to lay down his sword. Yet he's been charged with one final mission—to apprehend a dangerous enemy of the king, the Belle Dame Sans Merci. Despite his desire to apprehend a woman who causes such destruction, Athos refuses...until he sees a sketch of her. It's the same villainess with whom he had been locked in a passionate, sensual moment. Emmanuelle Vazet never gives up control, even if briefly, in the arms of a blueeyed stranger, she felt the need to give in and let desire take over. But now circumstances have placed her at the scene of a murder. Her reputation—and the ridiculous name—has preceded her, even if she is innocent. Now her nameless lover is the enemy. A royalist. A musketeer who could be her undoing...unless she becomes his undoing first.
I have always been a little obsessed with all things Musketeers, and this book really couldn't have come at a better time for me. Here in the UK we are currently halfway through series 2 of the BBC adaptation of The Musketeers, and so this novel nicely filled the void between episodes! There is always a danger in using someone else's characters in your story, but the plot and the characters come into their own here and Michele manages to pull it off in style! Thanks primarily to the TV show Athos is swiftly becoming my favourite Musketeer, and I only love him more after reading this. He is a haunted, tortured soul, fast becoming weary of military life and longing for some normality - perhaps even a family. Emmanuelle Vazet is similarly weary, weary of a life she has had no say in - all she wants is her freedom. Despite their flaws, both of these characters are incredibly likeable; the chemistry between them was palpable from the very start and all I wanted was for them to get their happy ending. The villains of the piece are, as expected, horrid through and through, and the settings are so vividly described you could picture the scene as if you were watching a film. I was gripped, particularly towards the end when the action really kicked in - I think I read the last half of it in one sitting! I would recommend this book to all fans of historical fiction/romance, and of course to the legions of Musketeers fans out there! I'm hoping this is the first of many Musketeers books that Michele Hauf writes, and if so I'll be first in line to read the next one!
4/5 stars: The Unforgiven: Athos is a thrilling blend of action, adventure and romance.
*Thanks to Entangled Publishing for granting me a free copy of this book in exchange for a review!*