Tag Archives: Medieval

Queen of the North

7 Oct

Anne O’Brien has written a series of books looking at the lives of lesser known female players in medieval English history.

“Queen of the North” is a novel of Elizabeth Mortimer, wife of Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy, and cousin of both Richard II and Henry IV.

It’s marvellous to see people centre stage in a novel that most people seem to ignore.  History tends to focus on the men and women, unless they are Queens, tend to remain in the background.

When you read the Plantagenet family trees in some novels, it’s easy to form the erroneous opinion that the monarchs had few children. In reality, the family trees where large, sprawling, and intertwined.

The book was well written, well researched and entertaining. There is a smidgeon of romance, between Elizabeth and Henry, but not with her second husband. Anne O’Brien is pragmatic about marriage at that time period.

Highly recommended.

Roseblood

22 Jul

Set in 1455 at the dawn of what history calls the War of the Roses, or, more accurately, the Cousins War, “Roseblood” is a bit of a change for Paul Doherty.  It isn’t really a mystery, what is truly is is a medieval political thriller.

Simon Roseblood is a taverner, alderman, career criminal, and loyal servant of the House of Lancaster.  Amadeus Sevigny is a clerk indentured to Richard, Duke of York, leading light of the House of York.

Amadeus’ masters want Simon Roseblood bought down, but as a much larger threat looms over both houses, Amadeus and Simon join forces to protect England and themselves, regardless of personal allegiances.

There are a lot of plot threads in this book, and I admit that at times I got very lost and very confused.  Mostly, I think, because I was expecting a murder mystery, when the book really is a political thriller.  Each type of book really needs a different mindset when reading.  Frankly, I was in the wrong headspace when I started the book.

This is certainly one of the best books Paul Doherty has written in a while.

It stands alone, but Paul has ended it so that it is possible that it may be continued further into the War of the Roses.

“Roseblood” has interesting and engaging original characters, and his take on historical characters is fascinating.  

I highly recommend it.

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