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The Splintered Kingdom (The Conquest) Paperback – 14 Mar 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; 1st Arrow Book Edition edition (14 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099558327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558323
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 73,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"A vigorously written, well researched tale of post-conquest England told through Norman eyes, with a rich, detailed setting, plenty of exciting battles, and a protagonist/narrator who is a real pleasure to read." - Historical Novels Review

""An exciting and suspenseful post-Norman conquest saga filled with ambition, greed and betrayals...history buffs and adventure fans will definitely want to read all the exciting tales in this saga." - Fresh Fiction

"There are enough swordplay and chases amid the historical detail to warrant returning to this series or even starting it. Aficionados of tales about England's historic warriors, in the tradition of Bernard Cornwell, will enjoy this muscular outing" - Library Journal

"The second terrific Tancred Conqueror era historical is a great thriller that brings to life the eleventh century bitter hostilities that remain heated several years after Hastings" - The Midwest Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The brilliant second novel featuring the hero of SWORN SWORD - Tancred.

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the first in this series and was instantly hooked. This was the first sequel ever that i actually set a reminder for in my calendar, and i was not dissapointed. I read to escape from daily pressures, so a novel that is gripping and intense without selling out and giving up on historical accuracy is exactly what i crave. James - Next one please.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
mmmm another main character I didnt really like, in some respects I hoped he would cop it, but a good story you cant beat a bit swords and brutality. I hate the Normans, being from old English stock, I do have to say this haha
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Format: Hardcover
The Splintered Kingdom is superbly and aptly named. The Norman Conquest of 1066 ripped the fabric of England to shreds - aristocrats became rebels, conquering warriors were now owners of hostile land newly divided and the ordinary men and women of England, speakers of a foreign language, were little more than property. They were also caught in the middle as William the Conqueror and his barons strove to keep their winnings safe in their iron fists.

Our hero, if he can be called that, is Tancred a Dinant, a Breton and Norman knight who, after impressing with his bravery at Hastings and in the streets of York (as told in the preceding novel Sworn Sword) is now lord of an estate in the Welsh borders in Shropshire (as it would be called now). Possibly unusually, but perhaps not, Tancred takes his duties as lord seriously and when his tenants are attacked and stolen by Welsh raiders he feels honour bound to protect them. The news comes that his great enemy, Eadger the Aetheling, the hope of the English, has joined with the Welsh to harass the invaders and so Tancred is among the many who follow their sworn lord, in his case Robert, to join up with William the Conqueror's fearsome armies.

Tancred is not just an anonymous knight in armour, the bloody hand of Norman oppression. He is, one would like to believe, a caring man who has made a career out of fighting and, despite the pull of peace offered by his new property, his relationship with a local girl, pregnant with his child, he is unable to resist the call of his oath to lord Robert and so he steps into the unknown - in this case, the wild, beautiful and hostile landscape of Wales.
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Format: Paperback
I was delighted when this aptly titled book arrived at the top of my reading pile because I really enjoyed the first book in this series, 'Sworn Sword'. Continuing the adventures of Tancred a Dinant, I was particularly pleased that James managed to develop his character in leaps and bounds as I felt that this was the one weakness of the first tale.
Set in 1070 and clearly well researched, we are told of the fragility of the Norman occupation. Not only are the supporters of King Eadgar, will whom Tancred shares a personal enmity, causing a considerable nuisance but King Swegn of Denmark is considering his options and the Welsh, seeing the other distractions to their advantage, are seeking to reclaim the marches, assisted by many disgruntled Englishmen. Rewarded with a lordship and lands, the village of Earnford in the marches, Tancred soon learns firsthand about the effectiveness of the Welsh raids and finds himself having to defend his 'home' and protect the English people in his care.
The Normans are therefore forced to fight on several fronts and Tancred is called upon to attack the Welsh. The action packed assault begins and is full of uncertainty with changing allegiances, the Welsh fighting the Welsh, the Normans torn between self-interest and loyalty to their king, all against a backdrop of ever-increasing unrest.
We are introduced a wide variety of new characters and re-united with some old friends and enemies as Tancred personally contends with re-kindled affection, heartache and loss, double dealings and betrayal whilst he tries with his comrades to remain honourable and do the right thing. The battle scenes are once more incredibly authentic, as war is raged throughout Wales and into Mercia, climaxing with a return to Eoferwic (York) and the tale then finishes with a delightful twist, heralding the next book in the series, which I look forward to reading.
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By JPS TOP 100 REVIEWER on 24 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second volume of the adventures of Tancred a Dinan, a Breton knight who fought in William of Normandy's army at Hastings, and continued as a sworn sword (the title of the first volume) of one of the Duke's leading barons. This time, the initial setting are on the Marches with Wales as Tancred has become the lord of a manor close to the border and therefore very much exposed to Welsh raids. I will stop here to avoid paraphrasing the story and coming up with spoilers.

There is a lot to like in this book, starting with the topic itself and the way the author presents it. This second volume, just like the first, shows that the Conquest of England was by no way finished with the victory at Hastings and that the subsequent uprisings and campaigns that the Normans and their King had to launch were much more than just "mopping up" operations. This is perhaps one of the main strongpoints of this book: it shows how precarious the Normand hold on England was in 1070 and how, all of a sudden, the whole kingdom seemed to erupt in flames, with attacks coming from the North (Edgar the Atheling and the Northumbrians), the East (the Danes) and the West (the Welsh and exiled Saxon thegns).

Another great feature is to make the "rank-and-file" knights, starting with Tancred, rather believable in their behaviours and in their aspirations. I rather liked the rivalry between Berengar and Tancred, both striving to enhance their reputation and sometimes rather careless of the consequences. I also liked the depiction of the similar tensions among Norman lords, in particular those between William FitzOsbern, William the Conqueror's childhood friend, and the "wolf", Hugh of Avranches who would become the earl of Chester as Roger of Mongomerri would become that of Shrewsbury.
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