This novel was recommended to me at a conference, mainly because it was set in Mercia during the reign of Æthelflæd, daughter of Alfred the Great and ‘Lady of the Mercians’. This period is not simply one of personal interest, but of current research for me. There does seem to be a strong ‘sense’ of period, and some of the detail was very interesting. Also, as another reviewer mentioned, the Catholic religious beliefs of the Saxon characters are not treated with contempt, ridicule or vilified as seems to be the case in some novels.Mrs Whitworth is clearly familiar with the era she writes about, and can re-create it convincingly for the reader using real events as an inspiration for the… Read more
I may be in the minority for having given this, my fourth Plaidy novel less than four stars, but I just don’t feel a higher rating was deserved. For one thing, the writing style seemed very repetitive, and, as other reviewers have said, Plaidy seemed to have been very much in the habit of telling rather than showing what was happening. I don’t really hold that against her, as that may have been a style common to the ‘70s when this book was first published.
It was good in places, showing the breakdown of the relationships between Henry and his sons, and illustrating how his apparent desire to keep power for himself seems to have contributed to it. The strong personalities of both… Read more
This was the first biography of William Marshal I have read, though I recently became more interested in him, due perhaps in part to Thomas Asbridge's Documentary. I can't make comparison with others, though I really should make an effort to read David Crouch's William Marshal: Knighthood War and Chivalry in the near future.
I would describe this book as more of a military biography, with extensive attention given to battles, campaigns, strategy and logistics. There is some danger of getting `bogged down' in the detail (and there is a lot of detail) but it's a book worth persevering with- though I confess it took me nearly two months to finish it, which is not usual considering… Read more