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Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet Paperback – 17 Aug 1989

4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (17 Aug. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747232679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747232674
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.9 x 5.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 103,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A richly textured tapestry of medieval Wales (Sunday Telegraph)

Strong in atmosphere and plot, grim and yet hopeful...carved in weathered stone rather than in the sands of current fashion (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

From the bestselling author of the Brother Cadfael Chronicles, a medieval epic of Llewelyn, the first true Prince of Wales.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Anyone who enjoys historical novels should definitely read this compilation of the Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet. If you are not familiar with the history of thirteenth century Wales prepare yourselves for family rivalry, battles, politics, and tragedy and send you mind back to the past. Written from the viewpoint of an observer closely associated with the royal house of Gwynedd the reader will not only learn from the accurate factual side of the book, but also experience a fantastically good story. I ended up being 100% on the side of the Welsh as you chart their battle to keep their kingdom in tact against the relentless force of the English, but also fight against factions that divide the family itself and the conflict between the major characters. Wales also has what I feel is one of the most tragic love stories as part of its history, and which this book reveals, that between Llywellyn the last prince of Wales and Eleanor of Montfort. Betrothed for many years, she gave up hope of marrying her Welsh prince once her father had been killed, but many years later he summoned her. She set sail from France but was captured by her cousin Edward I who kept her confined and used her as a bargaining tool to get further gains from the Welsh. Finally she was allowed to marry Llywellyn, only to tragically die in childbirth a year or so later. Soon after the Welsh royal family was forced into capitulation by Edward I - so much tragedy!
Please read this book!!!!
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By A Customer on 21 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
If you like historical fiction with a well developed plot and very well developed characters then you'll love this book. It is the story of the sunset of Welsh self rule, Kings and Princes battles over empire, determination, betrayal, love, and just life in the late 13th century in general. After reading the book I did a little research on the author and history of the Welsh in that time period and was pleasantly surprised at how accurate the details are. And of course Edith Pargeter is a well respected Midlands writer and was born near to where the stories take place.
My only small complaint would be that it sometimes got bogged down in to much detail, but that's easy to skip over.
All and all a very wonderful read, the story will weave a spell around your life for awhile. A book to get lost in!
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Format: Paperback
Part of the problem with this book is that the story has been told much better by Sharon Penman in her Welsh trilogy. Pargeter is usually a better writer technically (especially in the sublime Heaven Tree trilogy) but her style is all out of kilter here. By choosing to make this a first-person narrative by the boy Samsun, the tale is told by someone who is inevitably excluded from much of what happens. Too much of the story is therefore in the 'A told B that C was planning and then D did...'. In short we're told everything through the view of Samsun rather than having the story enacted or dramatised in front of us.

Other reviewers clearly didn't mind this, but for me this was a major drawback, especially is such a large quartet. In the end it was just too distancing, especially when the same story has been told so much better, in my opinion, by another author.
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Format: Paperback
The perfect companion for all history enthusiasts is the ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKER Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

The brothers of Gwynedd contains all four of the Welsh novels of Edith Pargeter: Sunrise in the west, The dragon at midday, The hounds of sunset, and Afterglow and nightfall. It is the story of Llewelyn, the one, true and only Prince of Wales along with his interactions with his three brothers. The story is seen through the eyes of Llewelyn’s confidante Samson, born on the same day as the Prince. Through intrigue and battle, Llewelyn is seen as a truly majestic and tragic figure, and, by novel 4 and knowing what will happen, one still hopes that Llewelyn and Wales will succeed and that his brother David will not yet betray him again. Pargeter is sympathetic to the Prince even though he is listed as a rebel and traitor in most of the internet sources I checked to gain a better background for Welsh history. But the truth is that the victors write history and Edward Plantagenet won.

The four novels are dense reading in very small print with a scholarly style and in a period of history that is unfamiliar to most modern readers. The sections on Welsh law and the treaties and court battles were difficult reading. There is no map of Wales included and one is definitely needed to track the unfamiliar place names. It’s hard to figure out who Pargeter is talking about since the names are similar. (King Henry's wife, sister, son's wife and niece are all named Eleanor!) And it was really difficult to keep track of all the various characters so a who’s who list would have been helpful. There was a very short glossary of Welsh terms.
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Format: Paperback
The narrator style is postive and helpful as it gives us in the 21st century a window into the 13th century that otherwise we could not reach. Samson the narrator is erudite and human; I almost wish he would divert into everyday things such as what he eats, drinks, wears and plays. This historical novel is about a period of history that shaped the Wales of today and yet is so little known. I went to try and find the 'palace' at Aber last week and found nothing but the famous falls. If you are Welsh read this book, it will help you understand a little about what it means to be Welsh and why England is such an ancient foe.

A great read and well written and highly recommended.
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