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Blondel's Song: The capture, Imprisonment and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart [Kindle Edition]

David Boyle
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £13.99
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Book Description

On his way back from the crusades, one of England's most famous and romantic medieval kings was ship-wrecked and stranded near Venice. Trying to make his way home in disguise, he was arrested and imprisoned and effectively disappeared. He didn't return home for another fifteen months, and at enormous cost - a quarter of the entire wealth of England was paid to win his release.

The extraordinary events surrounding Richard the Lionheart's disappearance provides the background to some of the most colourful and enduring legends - Robin Hood, the Sheriff of Nottingham, the discovery of King Arthur's grave, and above all, the story of Blondel, Richard's faithful minstrel, and his journey across central Europe - singing under castle towers - until he finds the missing king.

Blondel's Song tells the tale of one of the most peculiar incidents of medieval history, and the background to the real Blondel and his fellow troubadours, as well as the courts of love, the Holy Grail, emergence of gothic cathedrals like Notre Dame and Chartres, and the unique moment of tolerance in the West - when Europe shared a language, and a new culture of music, romance and chivalry.

Product Description


‘Richly absorbing and revealing . . . wonderfully vivid . . . Rarely have I come across such a deeply satisfying book’ -- Literary Review

‘[Blondel's Song] reaches beyond the confusing accounts of the chroniclers with conviction and momentum’ -- Sunday Times

About the Author

David Boyle is the author of a series of books, including Funny Money, The Tyranny of Numbers and Authenticity. He is an associate at the London-based think-tank, the New Economics Foundation, and a contributor to a range of newspapers and magazines including the New Statesman and BBC History.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6876 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (4 May 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9MTI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #594,790 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

David Courtney Boyle, 1958-, is a British author and journalist who writes mainly about history and new ideas in economics, money, business and culture. He lives in the South Downs. His most recent public role was conducting an independent review for the Treasury and the Cabinet Office on Barriers to Public Service Choice, which reported early in 2013.

His book Authenticity put the phenomenon on the business and political agenda. His previous books The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted and fermented the backlash against target culture. Funny Money helped launched the time banks movement in the UK.

More recently, he has been writing about why organisations and public services are so ineffective, working with the New Economics Foundation and NESTA on a series of publications about coproduction, and publishing his own solutions as The Human Element. This argues that organisations have abandoned human skills in favour of numerical targets or IT systems, which frustrate the business of building relationships and making things happen.

His history books usually have a business or economic dimension, including Blondel's Song (UK) and The Troubadour's Song (USA) about the imprisonment and ransom of Richard the Lionheart. His 2008 book Toward the Setting Sun tells the intertwined story of Christopher Columbus, John Cabot and Amerigo Vespucci and their race for America in the 1490s. His 2010 book, Eminent Corporations with (Andrew Simms) has introduced a new genre, the mini-corporate biography, launching the idea of corporate history as tragedy. His recent book Broke has launched a public debate about the plight of the middle classes.

He has been the editor of several journals including New Economics and Town & Country Planning. He is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation and has been at the heart of the effort to develop co-production and introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform. He has been closely involved in their Clone Town Britain campaign and writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business. He edited the Foundation's publications New Economics, News from the New Economy, and then Radical Economics from 1987-2010.

David helped found the London Time Bank, and was co-founder of Time Banking UK. He has been a candidate for Parliament of the United Kingdom. He was editor of the weekly Liberal Democrat News from 1992-1998.

His bestselling books for Kindle have mainly been about history, including Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma, Peace on Earth and Unheard, Unseen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A quietly Merrie Engalond... 13 Dec. 2005
By A Customer
David Boyle writes capably and accessably about the life and exploits of Richard 'lion-heart'. Having chosen this book to read for travelling to Austria it did the job admirably not just of filling in the hours but informing and colouring the trip, especially the description of the flight across Styria in the middle of winter. I also found his principle argument about the political and surrepticious roles played by troubadors and other wandering entertainers fascinating and wish there was more to read on the subject. However, because David Boyle doesn't aim for a specific readership some of the material seems merely narrative, bordering on decorative, and on the whole there are few momments of shattering new insight. Also- and he is certainly not alone in this- he at times slips up and it is possible to see how he has a strong liking for his subject which rigorous historians might frown at. All of this perhaps serves to make the work more approachable and comprehensive. My own personal criticism is that he buys too readily into the myth of the 'age of chivalry'and at times overstates Richard's role. Readable, but perhaps a little cosy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars History-lite 22 Jun. 2013
By Mike Watkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
From the author's blurb, it would appear that he is an economist & journalist; by his own admission, he set out to write a "popular history" (one wonders why). History-lite is the result. When he writes of economic matters, you can be confident he knows what he is talking about. When it comes to Blondel or Richard or Eleanor of Aquitaine, you get the distinct impression he is indulging in flights of fancy. The book is entertaining enough, and readable, but is marred by a number of faults. First, the author's style is journalistic & error prone; second, he is inconsistent; third, he lacks focus; fourth, evidence & attribution is all too often weak or entirely lacking.

Taking the first chapter only as an example, he uses "women" rather than woman more than once (which suggests his error, not the typesetter's); in a footnote he points out that bishops favoured maces as weapons; quite correctly, since they were forbidden to shed blood. However, he quite unnecessarily uses vivid journalese, "so they could slaughter their enemies in battle". In one paragraph, he says that we shouldn't judge the 12th Century by modern standards; in the next he condemns something from the period as "outrageous". The footnotes he introduces are usually utterly irrelevant to the passage they're attached to; indeed, to the book as a whole ("The main talking point was the biggest chicken coop in the world..."). Presumably these inclusions are meant to make the book more entertaining & amusing i.e. "popular". On the whole, he tends to meander around, and frequently entirely off, the track of what he thinks he is writing about.

Finally, he is no historian. All sorts of statements appear out of thin air. There are Notes & Sources at the rear of the book, so attribution is not entirely lacking, but!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 8 Dec. 2014
By rt
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting and readable but without period authority
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