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The Confession of Piers Gaveston [Paperback]

Brandy Purdy
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 July 2007
The history books tell us that Piers Gaveston was many things: arrogant, ambitious, avaricious, flamboyant, extravagant, reckless, brave, and daring, indiscreet, handsome, witty, vivacious, vain, and peacock-proud, a soldier and champion jouster, the son of a condemned witch, who used witchcraft, his own wicked wiles, and forbidden sex to entice and enslave King Edward II, alienate him from his nobles and advisors, and keep him from the bed of his beautiful bride Isabelle. Edward's infatuation with Gaveston, and the deluge of riches he showered on him, nearly plunged England into civil war.

Now the object of that scandalous and legendary obsession tells his side of the story in The Confession of Piers Gaveston:

"Mayhap even now, when I have only just begun, it is already too late to set the story straight. My infamy, I fear, is too well entrenched. Whenever they tell the story of Edward's reign I will always be the villain and Edward, the poor, weak-willed, pliant king who fell under my spell, the golden victim of a dark enchantment. There are two sides to every coin; but when the bards and chroniclers, the men who write the histories, tell this story, will anyone remember that?"

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (23 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0595455239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595455232
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 934,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent first novel 17 April 2009
By Rachel
It seems - if the reviews on both her novels are a guide - that Brandy Purdy's work tends to provoke strong reactions; readers either really like or hate them, there are few who are indifferent. I'm on the whole in the first camp. When I first read this novel, I was so completely immersed in it that had I reviewed it immediately upon finishing, I would have given it five stars. However, on reflection, there were a number of issues with it that nagged at me, and which prevent me from giving it that extra star.

Purdy's Gaveston writes an account of his life, at a time when everything has turned to complete disaster. It is an interesting exercise - it is a consciously self-serving point of view, and I read the character's perspective on past events as being coloured by more recent ones. The way it is written certainly forced me to think: do I trust this character's account, or is there more to it?

What I liked:
Purdy is very good at vivid descriptions and there were passages I reread several times out of sheer enjoyment of her prose. Scenes that have stuck with me include the depiction of the teenage Prince and companion as they slowly fall for each other, and the love scene after Edward's disastrous coronation. Equally refreshing is the depiction of Gaveston showing genuine affection and kindness to his young wife, Margaret de Clare, and his two daughters. There are some flashes of the snarky wit for which the real Gaveston was famous (though I'd have liked to have seen more of it). There is also an extraordinarily powerful passage where Gaveston describes his desperation to be loved for the man he is, not for his looks or other superficial reasons, and how he feels trapped into playing a role of his own making.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars (1.5 stars) Melodramatic 25 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Confession of Piers Gaveston, Brandy Purdy's first novel, was self-published with iUniverse in 2007 and is 181 pages long. The novel is narrated in the first person by Piers himself, in modern English with the occasional word like 'mayhap' thrown in, and reminds me in countless ways of Chris Hunt's 1992 novel Gaveston, a much longer, insightful and, for all its excessively purple prose, a far more accomplished work. I knew I wasn't going to get on well with Confession when in the very first scene we see Piers Gaveston's mother Claramonde de Marsan being burned alive as a witch - an invention of 300+ years later - and shortly afterwards are introduced to a Piers who is lowborn and destitute and has an uncle who's an innkeeper. Let us remember at this point that a) Piers Gaveston's father and grandfathers historically were among the leading barons of Béarn, and b) that Edward I himself placed Piers in his son's, the future king of England's, household as his companion. By 1300 standards, the likelihood of him doing such a thing if Piers hadn't been of noble birth are so minute you'd need a powerful microscope to see it. I also groaned out loud on page 2 when Edward II is addressed as 'Nedikins', a nickname to which the unfortunate reader is subjected throughout, and called His Most Christian Majesty, as though Edward was a king of France. Piers is, tediously and improbably, a Goddess-worshipper, a frequent cliché in novels featuring him (e.g. the Chris Hunt one, Sandra Wilson's Alice) based on the entirely false story that his mother was burned as a witch, and presumably on the statements of various contemporaries that he had bewitched the king and "was accounted a sorcerer. Read more ›
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't bother with this book! 18 May 2008
Found this novel whilst searching on Amazon. I've always had a keen interest in the reign of Edward II and was pleased to find a novel from the point of view of his favourite, Piers Gaveston. I should guessed from the cartoon-style cover that this was not a serious attempt to understand the character of Gaveston - indeed, he appears almost as some sort of cartoon caricature of how a homosexual royal favourite should be. I want to make it crystal clear that I am in no way homophobic, and I have tremendous sympathy for how Edward II and Piers Gaveston were treated by contemporaries, and by succeeding historians and authors. What I do object to in this novel is the amount of clichés used to describe Gaveston - on practically every page he is preening, pouting and behaving extremely foppishly. He is also highly promiscuous, having sex with anyone, high or lowborn, for money, jewels etc. He is even described as a `practised tart'. All this is the result of being raped as a child, and Gaveston cannot help himself. There isn't a shred of evidence that this took place, or that Gaveston was so promiscuous. Then there is the old myth of Gaveston being the son of a witch, and practising pagan worship. Where is the Gaveston with the wit, charisma and charm to attract Edward? Purdy doesn't show any of the wit Gaveston was credited with. Where is the Gaveston who was an expert soldier in his early teens, who took part in several military campaigns? , And was a successful lieutenant in Ireland. Where is the Gaveston who was a champion at tournaments? He is lost in the tawdry mire of Purdy's novel, which isn't even very well written. For example, the characters of Dame Agnes and Dragon are almost comical, even though that is not Purdy's intention. It's often salacious for the sake of it. Read more ›
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