Friday, September 20, 2013
New Review: Brenda Joyce’s THE CONQUEROR –Rugged and Raw but a Medieval That Keeps You Turning Pages
It’s 1069 and William I has conquered England and is handing out land to his knights while still fighting the Danes and the Saxon rebels. Rolfe the Relentless claims Castle Aelfgar and weds the Lady Alice, a bitter woman who comes with the land, but the woman he wants is her illegitimate sister, Ceidre, who he would rather have married.
Ceidre is a fiery lass, a healer and a loyal Saxon who, in league with her brothers Edwin and Morcar, risks all to restore Aelfgar to her family. She seeks to thwart Rolf at every turn, while being wildly attracted to the Norman. He treats her very badly most of the time but he’s still obsessed with her. Having caught her in treason and flogged her till she bled (the usual punishment for a woman), he decides to get rid of her by marrying her to one of his knights. But then he finds he cannot give her up entirely and decides he will first have his pleasure….
Joyce serves up a suspenseful tale full of history and with wonderful characters. I loved the heroine for her courage and her defiance of the Norman overlord. To be Saxon in those days of William the Conqueror was to know hardship and humiliation. Ceidre tried to do her part to fight against it even at the cost of her personal integrity. Rolfe was a strong leader who was clearly a favored knight of the king, yet he risked much to protect the Saxon maid he wanted.
This is a well-researched, well-written story with lots of grist. Though Ceidre and Rolfe are fictional, her two brothers, Edwin and Morcar were real historic figures who rebelled against Norman rule till their deaths.
I recommend it and the second one, which I’ll review in a few days.