by Georgette Heyer
The extended tag line for The Conqueror: A Novel of William the Conqueror reads, "The bastard son who overpowered a kingdom and the woman who melted his heart." Don't let that fool you. While Georgette Heyer is known for her fabulous regency romances, The Conqueror is no romance. And I mean that in a good way!
This is the story of William the Conqueror, but his relationship with his wife, Matilda of Flanders, is only a minor part of the saga and disappears into the background once they are wed. William's rise from bastardy to King of England is experienced by two men -- Raoul de Harcourt, a Norman and William's favorite, and Edgar of Marwell, a Saxon hostage held by William, who is devoted to the cause of putting Earl Harold Godwineson on the throne. The unlikely friendship that develops between Raoul and Edgar is the heart of this book, and when the ambitions of William and Harold finally pit the two on opposite sides of the bloody Battle of Hastings, the reader will experience the horror of war, the sometimes painful cost of loyalty, and the majesty of true friendship.
Interesting sidenote: When William sails off to England, his wife, Matilda, stands on the shore envisioning the creation of a grand tapestry depicting William's conquests. This dream is, of course, the famous Bayeux tapestry, the subject of Sarah Bower's book, The Needle in the Blood. Now I'm all anxious to get to that one!
NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)
Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!