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Brethren: Brethren Trilogy Book 1 Hardcover – 24 Aug 2006

79 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton; First Edition Third Impression edition (24 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340839694
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340839690
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24 x 4.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 635,903 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and a fishing village in Devon, during which time she won awards for poetry and edited a regular page in a regional newspaper. After hitchhiking to Brighton at 19, she worked as a festival organiser, a music promoter and a financial advisor. She wrote two novels before gaining a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex.

Her first published novel, BRETHREN, went straight into the Sunday Times top ten, where it remained for five weeks, becoming the bestselling hardback debut of the year. It entered the New York Times top twenty on publication in the US and was named book of the year by German newspaper Bild. Her second novel, CRUSADE, reached number 2 and REQUIEM completed the trilogy. In 2007, Robyn was named one of Waterstone's twenty-five 'authors of the future', judged by a panel of one hundred industry insiders who were asked to nominate the authors they believed would contribute the greatest body of work over the next quarter century.

The inspiration for Robyn's new bestselling trilogy, which began in 2010 with INSURRECTION and continued in 2012 with RENEGADE, was inspired by a research trip to Scotland and is based on the life of Robert Bruce. The third novel, KINGDOM, will be published in 2014 in the month of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Alongside writing novels, Robyn has collaborated on a WWII screenplay. Her novels have been published in 22 countries in 19 languages and together have sold almost 2 million copies.

Product Description


Writing medieval stories is one of the toughest jobs in historical fiction, because there are so many details we just don't know - how people talked to each other, how they loved each other. But Robyn Young has written an intricate, compelling, captivating and, above all, believable story. BRETHREN is a brilliant piece of sustained imagination. (David Boyle, author of BLONDEL'S SONG: The Capture, Imprisonment & Ransom of Richard the Lionheart)

Wonderful... loaded with atmosphere, action, and intrigue. The Crusades come alive (Steve Berry, author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY)

BRETHREN is one of the best historical debuts in recent memory. Exciting and enthralling, it gripped me from the first page and left me waiting anxiously for the next instalment (John Connolly, author of THE BLACK ANGEL and THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS)

A wonderful romp through a tulmultuous time loaded with medieval atmosphere, action, and intrigue. The Crusades come alive for what they were - personal battles of conquest and ambition. Robyn Young is a writer who bears watching. (Steve Berry, bestselling author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY)

'I was lucky enough to recieve an advance copy of this book, working in the book trade, and I was instantly blown away by the cover but the real treat lies inside. The story within is beautifully written and the research that has been done for this book shows in every amazing description. I would urge anyone to pick this up and read it. A deep, fast paced adventure extraordinare, beautifully crafted and filled with passion, intrigue and excitement taking the reader from the Scottish Highland to England, France and finally to the Holy Land. From the first word to the last it is impossible to put down. Robyn Young really brings alive the turmoil and politcal machinations of the medieval age creating a stunning debut.' (M. R. Houlton-hart, bookshop, Bury St Edmunds, review on Amazon)

Rich historical detail, clever plotting and engaging characters . . . a historical thriller that will have readers turning pages and envisioning the sequel (Publishers Weekly)

Pacy and well-written, with vivid, convincing characters, Brethren captures your interest until the last page. I eagerly anticipate the sequel, knowing I will not be disappointed (Alison Weir)

Intricate, compelling, captivating and, above all, believable ... a brilliant piece of sustained imagination (David Boyle, author of BLONDEL'S SONG)

Robyn Young's BRETHREN is a truly excellent novel. The thirteenth century is vividly and excitingly evoked ... I can't wait for the sequel! (Mark Philpott, Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Oxford)

'Stirring...carefully researched' (Publishing News)

A sweeping historical adventure with strong characters and serious verve...hits all the big emotional points...Can't wait for the next two volumes! (Sarah Weinman (Baltimore Sun, Shots Magazine, Galleycat blog))

If you love the Templars, the Crusades, and the Middle Ages, this is the book for you. Robyn Young is an exciting new voice that speaks loudly (Sharon Kay Penman, author)

Engaging and enjoyable - Robyn Young brings the tumultuous medieval world to life with pace and flair (Tom Harper, author, Knights Of The Cross)

Book Description

The epic first novel in the million-selling Brethren trilogy.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By SJATurney on 28 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I wasn't really sure what to expect from Brethren as I hadn't read a synopsis beforehand. Sometimes I find that adds to the book as it means I go into it with an open mind. Also, given my very rigid list of books to read, Brethren sneaked in by simply being "I quite fancy a read of that" as I walked past the bookshelf. That, for me, is quite rare. All I knew was that it involved the Knights Templar and the crusades.

I was fascinated, then, to discover that the book is not simply an 'us-and-them' Templars and Muslim thing. It also falls blessedly short of the almost inevitable (these days) Dan-Browning of the Templars. There is a tendency now to see them as a mystical, secretive, barely-Christian bunch with demon worship etc. Since I personally believe that they were likely mostly good-hearted and pious men who also happened to be shrewd business managers, the whole 'creepy' thing just annoys me.

Robyn has built up, instead, a secret sect within the Templars, using the mysteries surrounding the order and its eventual fall, to create secrets within secrets while still avoiding the pit-trap of Templar weirdness and demon worship. The Templars in Brethren are like an onion, layers within layers, and (as you would expect) it is only toward the end of the book when you start to get a glimpse of what is at the heart of this sect. I was most pleased to find that what could have been said demon worship, weirdness and even supernatural guff was, instead, exactly what I've always thought could have been the case: a deep level of understanding and acceptance that goes far beyond the simple Christian message.

I will try to give nothing away.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J Smith on 18 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
I had high hopes for this book. Promising a clash between civilisations during the time of the crusades, it seemed perfect material for a sweeping, thrilling historical epic. However, despite the book's initial promise, there's something about it that just doesn't work for me.

Don't get me wrong - it's not a bad book and, for a debut, it's probably quite good. It's certainly ambitious in its scope and themes. It's obvious that a lot of research went into many aspects of this book, particularly the settings and places (the book moves from medieval London and Paris to the Holy Land), and the author succeeds pretty well in capturing the essence and atmosphere of medieval life.

There are a few negative points, though. The first is the author's writing style. She can write, there's no doubt about that, and much of her prose is excellent; however, after a while it began to seem a bit heavy-handed and ponderous. I also agree with some other reviewers, who said it's clear that the author has a qualification in creative writing - the writing often seems very rigid, as though the author was more concerned with conforming to the technicalities of style rather than with story flow and ease of reading. That's a fairly minor point, though. To me, the two biggest let-downs of the book were character and plot (and, considering how important both are to novels, they were pretty big disappointments).

First of all, the characters seemed a bit wooden and under-developed, and weren't always that believable.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Roy Brookes VINE VOICE on 3 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a bad read and there is some interesting stuff about the Templars and the Hospitallers and their rivalries. I found the Mamluks / Saracens were quite sympatheitic. What let the book down for me was the cardboard cutout characterisation of the principals and the rather childish way they acted. Will Campbell, the main character, is first introduced to us as a boy and he never seems to grow up although he is moving in a grown-up and very dangerous world. His girlfriend Elwen is about the same. In their mid-twenties, almost middle-aged in the 13th century, they are mooning about like a pair of teenagers and yet we are expected to believe that affairs of state are entrusted to this pair. Prince Edward of England, one of the most powerful men in the world at that time, relies solely on one evil criminal to carry out his will. Oh come on. And his father Henry is portrayed as a virtual dolt when in fact he was a very astute and cunning monarch.

No this author can write flowingly but characterisation is not her strong point and neither is action. I found the battle scenes very sketchy. Overall very disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By john on 19 July 2010
Format: Paperback
i was looking for a good novel set around the crusades to give me a better idea of the people and the time and this book has truly surpassed my expectations.

The authors writing is vary descriptive and you get a great feel of the place being described, you can almost feel and smell the environments in it. the story which is a bit slow to start soon picked up and once it got going i couldn't put the book down. its filled with great twists and incredible characters that i really began to care about. the story is not so much on the crusades but about the man Will Cambell and his time in the knights Templar training for knighthood in the hope his father will forgive him for something terrible he did in his past, its a real roller coaster ride. if you want battle scenes, betrayal, secrecy and murder the this book is for you. the crusades come alive.
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