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Sir Nigel & the White Company: Two Classic Novels of the 100 Years' War Paperback – 6 Aug 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: LEONAUR (6 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846774977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846774973
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 475,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930.He set up as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write. His growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects.His greatest achievement was his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work; at one time Conan Doyle killed him but was obliged by public protest to restore him to life. And in his creation of Dr. Watson, Holmes's companion in adventure and chronicler, Conan Doyle produced not only a perfect foil for Holmes but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction.


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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
As all will know, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle is best famed for his novels on the character Sherlock Holmes. However, Doyle had another character called 'Sir Nigel Loring' who became a bit of a favourite, and he went on to write about him in two rather overlooked and fairly unknown books, 'Sir Nigel' being the first, and 'The White Company' being the second.

The first book, 'Sir Nigel' , takes the reader back to the early 14th century in Surrey with Nigel Loring ( not yet Sir) being in his late teens. He comes from a noble family whose wealth and prosperity have seen better days, yet young Nigel soon decides he is going to make a name for himself and change his families luck. After much romping around in the countryside of Surrey, he eventually joins the army of King Edward III and follows him to France to fight in the Crecy campaign of 1346.

'The White Company' follows on from Crecy and Calais, where an older and wiser Sir Nigel joins King Edward's son, The Black Prince, in Gascony and takes part in the fighting at the Battle of Najera.

I won't go into any detail on the content, but will just say that both of these books are beautifully written and extremely well researched. Not only are they what I would call 'unputdownable' , but they also give the reader a fantastic insight into what it must have been like fighting in the Hundred Years War with France during the 14th century - they also contain a pretty accurate history of the period covered.

Like Doyle, I'm not a fan of Holmes, however, I am interested in Medieval History, and these two excellent novels both grabbed my attention from page one. Doyle was said to have been rather proud of the research he did in writing these two books, and I can fully understand why - he has produced two extremely readable and entertaining novels.
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Having been mightily impressed with these tales of derring do in my youth, I returned to them almost fifty years on in nostalgic mood, only to be mightily disappointed, finding the eponymous hero, Sir Nigel, to be an entirely superficial confection and his contrived chivalrous actions and spaniel-like loyalty to be tiresomely predictable and often positively ridiculous. The same can be said of the entire cast of characters met within these novels. Whilst admitting that Conan Doyle is a wonderful yarn spinner, and that his depiction of the medieval world is vivid and colourful, it is a preraphaelite ideal presented here – fine for those who admire a pretty picture but lacking in any convincing endeavour to depict the reality and squalor of the times, particularly of the battlefield. In conclusion, if you are prepared to suspend your critical faculties, sit back and enjoy, but if you prefer your historical fiction to possess a modicum of sophistication, pursue your quest elsewhere!
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I love these novels, which I first read many years ago, my battered second hand copy of Sir Nigel is falling apart. They are beautifully constructed and written with all of ACD's inimitable wit and flair for dialogue, often very funny in places, and in others tragic. They are like a window on another world, so alien to ours and yet in so many ways familiar. The historical details are as meticulous and the characters are as memorable and sharply drawn as ever - Sir Arthur was simply a genius with words. If you loved the quirky, fascinating, funny people who inhabit the Sherlock Holmes stories, I'm almost certain you'll love the historical novels too. I certainly do.
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