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The Splintered Kingdom (The Conquest)
The Splintered Kingdom (The Conquest)
by James Aitcheson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea, 16 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Too me, the book was mediocre at best. Though I do not expect everyone to be bothered by these problems, they did make it hard for me personally to finish the book.

First of all, I like my historical fiction historically accurate. Of course, authors should be allowed to use artistic license to fill in the blanks of known history, but I would like this filler to be believable and based on likely situations. The author does try to address this in the historical note but I was unconvinced by his conclusions. I also found that the book was far more biased than it needed to be. I realise it is written from the point of view of a Norman Knight, and so would obviously reflect a Norman's prejudiced views towards other cultures (Welsh, Saxon/English). However, the author does not seem to have attempted to make it clear to the reader that the character's views are often racist and wrong or provide many, if any, alternative points of view. There are very few non Norman characters that display any good qualities and it get's to the point where it seems as if all positive traits such as bravery, loyalty, honour and skill at arms were unique to Normans. The most disappointing example of historical inaccuracy in the book is the genocide that the Welsh army under King Bleddyn ap Cynfyn carry out in Western England. This, as far as I can tell, has no basis in fact yet get's a lot of attention in the book. In comparison, the infamous genocide carried out by the Normans known as the "Harrying of the North", a historical event that there is ample evidence for, is barely mentioned. Though people should not rely on historical fiction for historical knowledge, it saddens me to think that people may read this book and assume that the Welsh did truly carry out such a genocide as the one mentioned in this book.

I'm also not a fan of cheesyness or cliches in fiction. I found that the events of the book and the dialogue were riddled with both. For me, this made the storyline far less interesting and, at times, very predictable. The main character often seems like a Rambo-type figure while his enemies are very similar to Bond villains. Overall, there were very few interesting characters in the book.
Finally, there were also a surprisingly large number of gramatical errors and spelling mistakes throughout. This doesn't bother me much as my own grammar is far from perfect but I can't help but think that having a book proof read before it's sold is the obvious thing to do.

In conclusion, the book is fine as a slightly entertaining read if you don't mind historical inaccuracy, weak characters and plenty of cliches.


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