What a surprise! Well written & fully developed characters! I loved all the background given to the Hero in the story, usually that much detail is saved only for the woman & we are left guessing or given cursory explanations of the Hero's motivations. Although it was sad to read of such a young boy sorely abused, neglected, & bullied - it probably wasn't all that unusual in the time period. Also, I loved how the women in this book are the strong, independent, sexual, & modern thinking women rarely port raided even in contemporary books now.