22 Sept 2017

First Line Friday #9: The Hour Before Dawn

After a short break, I'm back to First Line Fridays this week. Life is still busy, but my plans to catch up on my Reading Challenge are going well after the Summer hiatus. Today I'm featuring the second in a series of sequels to a trilogy of tales that were first written 20 years ago.  The original Hawk and Dove Trilogy by British author Penelope Wilcock was a set of 3 short stories centred around a monastery in Yorkshire in the late 1300s.  

Forget Cadfael, the Hawk and Dove is not a mystery series, but focused instead on specific characters: brothers of the fictional St Alcuin's monastery, using their lives and struggles to convey spiritual lessons. The first three stories entitled The Hawk and the Dove, The Wounds of God and The Long Fall placed particular emphasis on Abbot Peregrine, who took on the name Columba when be become a monk. His name was the source of the series title: Columba is the name of a Saint, but also means 'Dove', Peregrine means Hawk and is the name of a breed of falcon.
Fast forward to 2011 when a set of three sequels to the original trilogy was published by Crossway Books following the characters of the first series under the leadership of a new Abbott. A few years later, the series was taken on by British based publisher Lion Fiction, and three more titles were added taking the total up to 9. 

I read the original trilogy back in 2014 and requested the three sequels from the Publisher more than a year ago. The first one (or the fourth book in the series), I read back in March before joining this group, and I'm just getting around to The Hour Before Dawn now. 
Judging from some of the reviews, this title proved to be one of the most controversial in the series because it explores the impact of psychological and emotional trauma through the rape of one of the characters (the sister of one of the monks).
Now, I for one dislike the inclusion of content such as rape scenes in stories just for the sake of it, or just to crank up the drama: but nor do I shy away from books which explore difficult subjects. Readers will be able to read my opinion when I write the review.

The first line reads:

Brother Thomas thought he had never heard a monk shout so loud. 

Remember to check out what the other members of this group are reading on their own websites. Until next time, have a great weekend and happy reading, with love from England.


  1. I think I read the first of these books, but I didn't realise more had come out. I'll have to look them up.

    I'm sharing from Hold the Light by April McGowan over on my blog today. I've just started reading what I'm told is an excellent writing craft book, Understanding Show, Don't Tell by Janice Hardy. It starts well:

    Show, don't tell is one of the most frustrating pieces of writing advice out there.

    I'm looking forward to understanding it better!

  2. I'll have to check these books out.

    I'm featuring the first line from J. Rodes' "Charging the Darkness" on my blog today--great conclusion to her dystopian trilogy--but right now I'm going to share the opening of Rachel Dylan's recent release, "Deadly Proof":

    "You can't call that a settlement offer." Kate Sullivan looked directly into the dark eyes of her opposing counsel, who represented a medical device company.

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I’m currently reading The Keeper of Her Heart by Stacy Henrie
    “It is not proper, Ada. And I will not abide it any longer”

  4. I love the variety of books on FLF!
    Here is what I am sharing today.
    How dare the stars still light the night and the James River continue to flow, when the one who made Lettie’s life bearable was gone?
    This is the first line from chapter 1 (not the prologue) of Carrie Fancett Pagels novella “Love’s Escape” in The Captive Brides Collection.

  5. I totally agree. I didn't like that particular type of scene included in Downton Abbey either.

  6. Mrs. Pollifax had attended church that Sunday morning, and her hat-a garden of pale pink roses and green leaves-still sat on her head as she ate lunch in the sunny kitchen of her apartment. - The Amazing Mrs. Pollifax (Book 2) by Dorothy Gilman

  7. The Hour Before Dawn is my favourite of this entire series. It is a wonderful book, and I recommend it without hesitation.


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