Duke is book #2 in The Leopards of Normany trilogy by David Churchill. My sincere thanks to Bookbridgr, Headline Publishing and David Churchill for providing me a copy of Book #1, Devil for a review last year. You can find my review for Devil here. To my utter delight and surprise Headline Publishing followed up by also sending me review copy of Duke. How awesome is that? Now, I must apologize I haven’t got around to reading Duke until recently and the delay in getting this review done.
Duke was published 21st of April 2016 and if you count yourself a fan of historical fiction at all, then it would be madness for you not to get your hands on this mega read.
Devil, book #1 of The Leopards of Normandy follows Robert the Duke- his life, his battles, the deceipt and loyalty of fellow countrymen and neighbors. In Duke, the historical fiction continues with Robert’s son William the Bastard who as a young boy takes over the duchy and faces many a hardship in his young life. The hardships however make William stand up for himself as he grows older and holds his duchy with even more conviction.
Sparks fly from clashing swords as the game of thrones plays out in bloodshed. Of those named guardian to the boy Duke, all seek advantage and power. Most wish the boy dead. Some will go to any lengths to make it happen.
Across the sea, the struggle for the English crown has seen Queen Emma’s beloved son killed. She has two more sons waiting in the wings but Godwin, Earl of Wessex – kingmaker and arch manipulator – has other plans.
As the noble families of Europe murder each other in their lust for power and fortune, the boy stands apart.
His name is William. His destiny is to conquer.
This book truly portrays a game of thrones, the moving about of chesspieces by many an ambitious hand. Loaded with fictional and historical characters alike, David Churchill has managed to take what few evidenced historical facts there are and build a tremendous fiction around it.
The writing is of truly high quality and standard while the fiction supporting facts is imaginative and spectactular indeed. With so many characters and everyone’s varying ambitions one could be worried about being able to follow the story, yet as was the case with Devil, this is where the quality comes in- the writing is so simple and easy to follow yet packs a proper punch therefore delivering the whole story in a convincing and adventurous way.
The book has a fantastic balance of everything that historical fiction stands for- betrayal, wit, love and hate, loyalties and death. There isn’t a single moment in this book which doesn’t satisfy the hunger of the bookworm.
Power hungry characters are the most interesting as they will go to any length to get what they want and yet, William, the Bastard, the Conqueror is a character I enjoyed seeing grow from a boy to a man on the pages of this book while keeping an air of level headedness about him earning the respect of any reader.
Devil, book #1 was easily one of my favorite reads last year. This year, Duke is among the favorites as well… and I can’t wait to read how the story ends!
My rating– 5 fabulours stars of course
Many thanks again to Headline Publishing and David Churchill for providing me a copy of this marvellous book!
Who writes history? Assassin or conqueror?
THE BOY DUKE- The future of Normandy, if he survives
THE COUSIN- Royal of blood, dangerous of ambition
THE ASSASSIN- Deadly poisoner, deadly secrets
THE QUEEN- Dangerous in her grief
THE EARL- Ruthless kingmaker, arch manipulator