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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgiven and commended, 22 May 2012
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This review is from: Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim: A 900-Year-Old Story Retold (Hardcover)
When John Guy published his biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, I thought I'd never forgive him for writing a new biography of the Scots Queen when Antonia Fraser's was probably the most masterly work and stands the test of time, even now, as being possibly one of the best biographies ever written in its genre. At that time I found Guy's writing, although highly scholarly, very dry and uninspiring to follow.
The succeeding book on the double biography of Thomas More and his daughter was a fascinating piece of writing and innovative in its style.
However, with his new book on Thomas Beckett, Guy has found his way, I feel at least, and has presented a refreshing and exciting book which is virtually, with every chapter, a page-turner. Rather than use some of the distracting hagiography of Beckett, Guy has set his life against a fascinating insight of the times, with a clear backcloth of the monarchical struggles in England and France. As Beckett grows and matures into the opportunities that come his way, we see a clever man battling against the social odds of his up-bringing in the face of the nobles and landed gentry who saw him as an upstart. The friendship, fights and eventual falling-out between him and Henry II was a much longer and protracted series of incidents than I had realised, and does give a better understanding of the King's final desperate cry to see an end to the Archbishop's opposition - but perhaps not as the priest's assassin's interpreted.
This is a highly accomplished, exciting, commendable and incredibly interesting book to read and will be hard to match.
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