This, the third volume in this excellent trilogy, follows the main protagonist through the period of King Edward vs William Wallace and through the events leading up to the dissolution of the Templars. King Philippe of France has a plan to fill out his coffers by seizing all of the French Templar properties and treasure; an insidious plan brought forth by his insidious adviser, the chief lawyer, Nogaret. Front and center in all of this action and intrigue is Will Campbell, the Templar Knight and main character in the series. In a lot of the historical fiction that I read, the history of the events portrayed are well known and therefore you know how it ends before you start reading. The way the author crafts the story to meet the historical end is what captures my interest. The author did her job and has crafted a wonderful tale that accomplished that goal. The integration of the fictional Campbell into the fabric of these events had me thinking that, yes, things could have happened in the manner written. The story is full of the duplicitous nature of kings and the ruthlessness they employ to achieve their ends. The characters are larger than life, from the hair shirt wearing Philippe, the Scottish rebel William Wallace, the evil incarnate Nogaret and most especially William Campbell. I hesitate to give anything away plot wise so suffice to say William Campbell goes through a multitude of trials and tribulations, some good but some not so good.
I highly recommend not only this volume but the whole Brethren series. 4 stars.
I said in my review of the first book of this series that I was anticipating reading the rest of the series as I thoroughly enjoyed Brethren. Well I have read the second and am glad to say it is as good as the first, The drama and intrigue between the Mamluks and the Christians is the main story line but there are many others as well. That is what I liked most about this book; that the author could weave together so many plots and subplots into a very readable and enjoyable tale. I know that some readers of historical fiction look for historical accuracy over the fact of mere story telling…I am not one of those. For me it is enough to know that the Middle-East has always been in turmoil and probably always will be. If an author can take that turmoil and write an entertaining story involving the strife between Muslim, Jew and Christian then I am content. Given that premise, Robyn Young has done a marvelous job and I will be continuing my reading of her work. I give it 5 stars.
About the author:
Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and a fishing village in Devon, during which time she won awards for poetry and edited a regular page in a regional newspaper. After hitchhiking to Brighton at 19, she worked as a festival organiser, a music promoter and a financial advisor. She wrote two novels before gaining a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex.
Her first published novel, BRETHREN, went straight into the Sunday Times top ten, where it remained for five weeks, becoming the bestselling hardback debut of the year. It entered the New York Times top twenty on publication in the US and was named book of the year by German newspaper Bild. Her second novel, CRUSADE, reached number 2 and REQUIEM completed the trilogy. In 2007, Robyn was named one of Waterstone’s twenty-five ‘authors of the future’, judged by a panel of one hundred industry insiders who were asked to nominate the authors they believed would contribute the greatest body of work over the next quarter century.
The inspiration for Robyn’s new bestselling trilogy, which began in 2010 with INSURRECTION and continued in 2012 with RENEGADE, was inspired by a research trip to Scotland and is based on the life of Robert Bruce. The third novel, KINGDOM, will be published in 2014 in the month of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Alongside writing novels, Robyn has collaborated on a WWII screenplay. Her novels have been published in 22 countries in 19 languages and together have sold almost 2 million copies.