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Margaret of Anjou: Queen of England
Margaret of Anjou: Queen of England
by Philippe Erlanger
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Useful book, with some reservations., 10 Sept. 2014
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Useful Biography of the Maligned Queen Margaret, from the point of view of 'the other side'- namely a French author. For those like me, who cannot help feeling there was (and perhaps still is) an element of racism behind the vilification of Margaret, its an interesting, different spin.

In some ways, this is useful, as the author is free from the prejudice against Margaret common in England, and has the more sympathetic view of a countryman, with an honesty that is sometimes refreshing (albeit brash). Indeed, the Yorkists, who did a hatchet job on Margaret's reputation were just as guilty of acts of unspeakable cruelty and ruthlessness- and arguably more-so. Margaret after all, despite her failings, was not generally in the habit of having her cousins and siblings executed.

My only major complaint was a few errors of fact- Erlanger, like Shakespeare, placed Margaret at the Battle of Wakefield, when she was not there. As recent historian's studies have demonstrated, she was actually in Scotland at the time of the battle, so could practically have had nothing to do with the death of Richard, Duke of York. Also, readers may wish to note this was a work, which I believe was translated from the French, so the sentence structure and writing style may be a little clunky or incorrect in places.

Good, albeit dated work on one of the most controversial, yet fascinating Medieval Queen of England which is worth consulting, but should be taken with a proverbial pinch of salt in places.


The Bone Thief: (Wulfgar 1)
The Bone Thief: (Wulfgar 1)
by V.M. Whitworth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 21 July 2014
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 story.
The glossary was useful for the unfamiliar terms, and although its over 400 pages its not a heavy or tedious read.

Also, I have to admit though he may not be according to everyone’s taste I did take a liking to Wulfgar- aside from often loose tongue and his unhealthy infatuation with the Viking woman Gunnvor resulting in part from a certain scene in which he sees her in undergarments.
Yes he is weedy, was bullied by other boys as a child so has serious confidence issues, he’s a whiner, green around the gill’s and certainly not the sharpest tool in the shed- but I think I related to him as the unappreciated underdog who makes an unlikely hero.

His companion Ednoth seemed to be a typical hard-man, a useful balance with Wulfgar’s lack of fighting ability- and subtlety.
The other clerical character, Father Ronan had a grittier and more realistic outlook on life and his outlook and experiences seemed quite realistic for people for the Christians living in the Danelaw in which the established hierarchy of the church had broken down, and in which there might be nobody to perform ancient rites like baptism or confession. That said, I didn’t find him entirely likeable, perhaps because I thought him to be rather sycophantic and willing to compromise what he was supposed to stand for.

Gunnvor, the aformentioned Viking woman I found hard to warm to. She seemed little more than eye candy or and a potential Romantic interest for Wulfgar. Her strength of character, independence and having rescue the men from potentially dangerous situations seemed something of a stereotype perhaps intended to appeal to modern notions of girl-power.

Historically, I couldn’t find many problems, though I am not an archaeologist and so I’m not familiar with material culture and probably wouldn’t spot any errors in this regard. The main issue I had was the language, which often seemed rather too modern with characters using many contemporary terms and phrases. Perhaps this was necessary to allow for better understanding, but language which is too jarringly modern in historical fiction is an issue for me generally. Perhaps it’s just a matter of taste.

My only gripes with the story were that it could perhaps have been resolved more quickly and seemed to drag a little and some of the characters’ actions didn’t seem wholly consistent or plausible.
Without wanting to give away the story, it just seemed incredibly unwise for the other characters to expect Wulfgar go off on his own after all that had happened to them- and I’m really not sure that the Lady of the Mercians would have risked openly allying herself with Æthelwold, the rival claimant to the West Saxon throne.

Overall, this was a good story with some memorable and lovable characters (in spite of their failings) which might appeal to those who aren’t so keen on novels full of battle or bedroom scenes. I’m certainly interested being re-united with Wulfgar the next book, The Traitor’s Pit and only hope his heroism doesn’t involve abandoning his convictions.


The Revolt of the Eaglets: (Plantagenet Saga)
The Revolt of the Eaglets: (Plantagenet Saga)
Price: £2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Not, perhaps Plaidy's best...., 14 July 2014
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 King Henry and Eleanor also came though, with the friction between them quite well written. However, perhaps due to the constraints of space it did seem as though things were a little rushed, and events covered very quickly and not in great detail. To me, the novel seemed to read a little like ‘A Brief History of’ book in some places.
Perhaps I’m just not so used to the older style, though I have read other works by this author, and found 'The Queen from Provence' more compelling.

My only other gripe was that I was not sure of the accuracy of the incidents presented. Now I know no novel is going to be entirely accurate, and authors need to use artistic licence, but it seems that the alleged homosexual relationship between Richard and King Phillip II of France is little more than a myth, albeit one that seems to have been common at the time (in light of a similar insinuation in ‘The Lion in Winter’). I believe modern writers and historians are starting to question to whole idea that King Richard was ‘gay’.
I don’t know of any contemporary evidence the he was, and it’s now known that he did have at least one illegitimate son. Personally I think that just because the two men had a close relationship it does automatically follow they were romantically attracted to each other- and even for two men to share a bed did not necessarily carry sexual connotations at this time.

What with this and the mention of King Henry seducing Richard’s betrothed at the age of 11, which was cringe-inducing (which also may not have happened) I believe this may have been a case of artistic licence carried too far.

So in overall summary, Revolt of the Eaglets is worth reading, but may be prove frustrating for people who are more familiar than me with the details of the life and reign of Henry II, and those more used to recent writing styles.


The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217 (General Military)
The Knight Who Saved England: William Marshal and the French Invasion, 1217 (General Military)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Forgotten Knight?..., 3 July 2014
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 the electronic edition is only 250 pages. Not that the book is bad (and I can plead mitigating circumstances), on the contrary it's a fascinating, crammed full of detail, asides and interesting tidbits (I never knew Archbishop Stephen Langton was the man who divided the Bible into chapters) but those expecting a quick, light and easy read may be disappointed.

However, anyone seeking a well-researched overview of the life, times and historical legacy of `The Marshall', to give them a good `sense' of the period should be pleased. I wouldn't agree with all of the author's conclusion's or comparisons (he does seem to judge by modern standards every so often), the structure could have been better, and perhaps he has fallen in love with his subject. Yet for all his failings, which any failings he did have, it would be hard not to admire William . How many septuagenarians, even today could lead a charge in battle or a regency government?

It would be no crime to finish this book with the belief that William Marshal is one of the great (if not the Greatest) largely unsung heroes of English history, who has been unfairly forgotten and side-lined. the sites of his great victories and triumphs seem to be hardly recognized today. How many has heard of the Battle of Lincoln, or the naval debacle at Sandwich?
Like King Alfred having been unjustly reduced in the popular memory to little more than the King who burned the cakes, William Marshall deserves more credit and popular recognition.

Altogether, recommended reading. I received a ebook version of this title from Netgalley in exchange for review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.


Supergets® HTC Desire C Top Flip PU Leather Case Cover, Screen Protector, High Capacitive Touch Screen Stylus And Polishing Cloth Black
Supergets® HTC Desire C Top Flip PU Leather Case Cover, Screen Protector, High Capacitive Touch Screen Stylus And Polishing Cloth Black

2.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for old Desire...., 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
To note- there is no problem with this product at all, but it was simply not correct for my model of phone, which was larger and so the cover would not fit and had to send it back. Good seller, gave a refund, can't fault them- just be warned NOT suitable for the original Desire/Bravo model, but will come up if you search for it. and are having a blonde moment....


On the Ruin of Britain
On the Ruin of Britain

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the complete version (or at least was not when I bought it), 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't know if this has now changed, but when I purchased this item about two years ago, when reading Gildas was needed, I found the Kindle editions did not include a major part of the original work. This was the Epistle, the longest part, which included mentions of sixth century Welsh rulers including Vortipor of Dyfed and Mealgwyn of Gwyneth. Yes, it could be argued, the Epistle is essentially a sermon, or a prolonged rant against the wickedness of the Britons, but it needs to be mentioned for those who seek to read Gildas for study. Had to use a facsimile edition from the 19th century to get what I needed.


Beverly Hills Chihuahua [DVD]
Beverly Hills Chihuahua [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jaime Lee Curtis
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.97

4.0 out of 5 stars A little girl's favourite...., 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Simply put, my niece (8) adores it. Good, light watching (generally) for the little ones who love animals and animal movies.


Latin for Local History: An Introduction (Longman Paperback)
Latin for Local History: An Introduction (Longman Paperback)
by Eileen Gooder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £29.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not just for local history..., 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
OK, so this was the set text for Latin classes at Uni, so I sort of had to get it, but its still good. Not for the general reader, I must say, and perhaps a little daunting for the total novice, but more accessible if used alongside other resources like the National Archives Online Latin course or a Latin Primer. In my opinion, an essential text to consider for anyone learning Medieval Latin for the purpose of reading manuscripts and written documents.


Peace-Weavers and Shield-Maidens: Women in Early English Society
Peace-Weavers and Shield-Maidens: Women in Early English Society
by Kathleen Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating little book, 2 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Easy to read in a few hours or a single sitting, but a mine of useful information about women in Anglo Saxon society, with some unexpected gems- like the origins of the word hloefdige- which was later used to refer to an extraordinary woman- Ethelflead 'Lady of the Mercians', She gets a lot of attention (well six or seven pages in a book this length does count as rather a lot). A worthwhile read about the role, rights and expectations of women in a fascinating period.


The Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective
The Emergence of Islam: Classical Traditions in Contemporary Perspective
by Gabriel Said Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £25.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For any who want to know.., 2 Jun. 2014
Useful resource for students of Islamic Studies or history, or in my case writing an essay on seventh century Arabia. Scholarly and does not shy away from tough issues, such as issues and debates surrounding the authorship of the Quran and the so called 'satanic verses'.


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