4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Three Henrys - an engrossing yarn of medieval battles and disputes over feudal succession,
This review is from: A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury (Paperback)
"I run before King Harry's Victory, Who in a bloody field by Shrewsbury Hath beaten down young Hotspur and his troops, Quenching the flame of bold rebellion " are the words of William Shakespeare in his "Henry IV".
Edith Pargeter tells the story of three Henrys: Henry IV (Bolingbroke), the ursuper king, an over-ambitious prince whose sins will come back to haunt him throughout his life, his son and heir, Henry V (Prince Hal), who will gain from his father's ambitions, but come to despise him for them, and at last Henry "Hotspur" Percy a man who "was the pattern of chivalry, and valour, and noblesse in all his realm", friend, advisor and at last deadly enemy to Henry IV and Henry V. . In her historical novel prolific writer Edith Pargeter (aka Ellis Peters) tells an engrossing yarn of medieval battles and disputes over feudal succession in the time of Henry IV. The intricacies of fifteenth century court politics are well explained and humanized as much as possible, whether or not one is agreeing with Ms. Pargeter's interpretation.
And here lies the problem : the extreme partisanship., f.e. Hotspur gets nearly a saintly aura, forgotten his personal ambitions. There is a lot of black and white and no hardly any balance. Maybe this is the reason why in many ways this is the least successful of her historical novels.
Nevertheless it is a great read, absorbing and entertaining. I enjoyed it.