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Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet Paperback – 17 Aug 1989

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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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

A quartet of novels telling the epic, dramatic tale of the first true Prince of Wales, from the internationally bestselling author of the Chronicles of Brother Cadfael.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 July 2001
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful 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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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 15 April 2008
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 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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By amacrob on 25 April 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing book A spectacular story &what a life they all led, Edith Pargeter has done an fantastic job, the way she writes and captures peoples characters and personalities is incredible, so so sad that LLYWELYNs head was put on a spike- he was NO traitor. I have traveled the castles of North Wales and been to LLYWELYNs resting place at Abbey Cwm Hir, it is such a peaceful and beautiful spot, right next to the lake and flag, I really enjoyed seeing it. The only disappointment for me was Daffydd being called David, but still, what a man he was too.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Misfit TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 Mar. 2007
Format: Paperback
I just couldn't get into this book. I was familiar with the story of Llewellyn the last and his Eleanor from reading Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh trilogy (LOVED IT!!). This book, or rather these four books in one tell a similar tale as SKP's Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, but I found this version to be a bit dry and dragged in many places.

Part of it may be from telling the story in the first person, thus limiting the story telling to what is observed by that person, loosing a lot of character development. I think also because these were originally written as four smaller books, they might stand better alone with some breathing room in between. Looking at it as one book it could well have stood some serious editing. Also suffering due to the first person account is more about Eleanor except for when Samson the clerk is there, so much of the magic of the tale of Llewellyn and his Eleanor is not told here.

Maybe it's just me, although I usually devour large historical fictions about this time period without hardly taking a breather. This one I could always put down, found myself skipping a lot of pages and praying for the book to end -- how many times did we need to have demonstrated in such great, lengthy detail about the legal manipulations of Edward I?

That being said, my heart still breaks for what was lost forever to Wales and the Welsh people at the hands of that despicaple, two timing, double dealing, lying snake in the grass Edward I.
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