The Leopards of Normandy #2
He came, he fought and he conquered and that's really all I knew about William the first of England, the King who built the Tower of London with stone from his native Normandy. I didn't know anything about his life before the conquest of England and what's been so fascinating about reading David Churchill's excellent trilogy, so far, is that it has started to flesh out William, to give him personality and purpose, and in this second book in the trilogy, which spans the years between 1039 to 1051, William starts to emerge as a strong and decisive character.
Of course, there are going to be gaps in history, and this is most definitely a fictional account of William’s early life but wherever possible the author has used available historical evidence to add motivation and gives a plausible suggestion of what might have happened. The one thing that is certain, however, is that the eleventh century was a time of great political and democratic uncertainty. Conflict between the ruling families of northern Europe was rife and political assassination was both endemic and accepted as commonplace.
There is no doubt that the author writes well around a subject about which he is passionate. Factual and fictional history blends really well and as time and place starts to come alive, before you know it, the creeping menace of the eleventh century starts to surface, and in your imagination you are moving surreptitiously in the cold, dark shadows watching as William's story continues to unfold.
This second book in the trilogy shows just how unpredictable life was in the eleventh century, and as families fought against families, the only certainty was that the victor would be the one with enough ambition and motivation to succeed. I look forward to seeing how the story finally plays out in the final part of the trilogy and although the outcome is known, it's going to be really interesting to see how William finally gets to becomes the conqueror we know from our history books.
Best read with … A haunch of venison and a flagon of ripe and fruity Normandy cider..
About the Author
David Churchill is the pseudonym of an award-winning journalist. He has investigated financial scandals on Wall Street, studio intrigues in Hollywood and corrupt sports stars in Britain, and lived in Moscow, Washington DC and Havana. He has edited four magazines, published seventeen books and been translated into some twenty languages. The Leopards of Normandy trilogy reflects his lifelong passion for history and his fascination for the extraordinary men and women of the past who shaped the world we live in today.
My thanks to Caitlin Raynor at Headline for my copy of this book