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Harold The King (2011)

by Helen Hollick(Favorite Author)
4.13 of 5 Votes: 1
1906236593 (ISBN13: 9781906236595)
SilverWood Books
The Saxon Series
review 1: A thoroughly absorbing tale about how King Harold does all he can to protect his Land of Britain and his people from the Normans. Helen Hollick makes all her characters come to life as they inevitably face challenges grand and everyday. I felt right by their sides as this story unfolded. I didn't want it end, but I was kept delightfully on the edge of my seat as the plot reached finality. This historical novel brought to mind how wonderful a genre it truly is.
review 2: Good writer, good history, but a weak meshing of the two. It should of been the story about one or two central characters, or a full account of the history. This seemed to be trying to be both, and not quite pulling it off. Sometimes I think 'histories' are better served by historians wr
... moreiting non-fiction books, rather than writers, with an obvious love of a history writing their own fictions around real-life characters, assigning their own imaginations, actions and dialogue to characters that were real life people. As there is a scarifice to be paid in writing historical fiction, and that is to dare to include all the history, events etc, into a fictional account will invariably endanger the main protagonists' stories, unless it is very skilfully written. Instead of a steady rhythm, you get narrative that bogs down with detail, and therefore fails to engage. The book has too many minor events and occurences, and lots of inconsequencial episodes do not make one good story. I plodded to the end of this account, far too long in my opinion, feeling that the author had very little to add that perhaps would be better served by reading a better historical account of events. The conclusion to Harold's life, and the famous battle of Hastings was an anti-climax, as if the author could not face writing his demise.Fiction should add a dynamic quality to the history that brings the characters alive for the reader. But I found too many interactions between characters often lifeless and pointless. I was left at the end not knowing the protagonists as well as the author probably wanted me to. They seemed wooden and uninteresting. I had no sense of them as people, and a poor sense of the time in which the author had writen.It was not a bad book by any means, and I applaude the writer's knowledge on the subject, and the competence of her prose, but the author's voice did not suit the subject. I found the narrative flow poor, overly long, and in places quite boring, with little reason to include passages other than it suited the writer to do so. I found a lot did not add to the story of Harold. The Normans and the Saxons were potrayed as black and white, good and bad, and I felt the author had failed to look further back at Anglo/Saxon heritage to understand the protagonists better. Characters' actions and interactions seemed out of place for their time. The Saxons were never good guys; a race carved out from germanic/slav peoples, rich in culture, but still, in the end, a mercenary, unforgiving and conquering race. You don't have to be a student of history for evidence to support the cruelty of the slavic phsyce. You could never call them the good guy, and the Normans were simply the next conquering tribe, in a long line of stronger tribes. And good for them, for their culture, stablity, unification, law and order was the best thing to happen to Britain since the Romans. Perhaps I'm bias. I'm from Norman stock.I've had this book on my Kindle for quite some time, purchasing it after seeing the praise heaped on this book on GR and Amazon, I did wonder at times if I had an early edit of the book, and a newer edit was in circulation. So many five stars. I could easily see how some readers would enjoy it. But I did feel the overall rating was more result of the online social community supporting the author, rather than praising an 'amazing book'. Which is fine in its self, but it did lead to my choice badly made.I hate comparing books. But Benard Cornwell's Saxon stories do come to mind. And I hate to say this. His emphasis on action over emotional depth, point of story telling, may in fact suit this subject better, the eleventh century being a very much a man's world, with all its cruelty.And a final point, which ultimately led me to write this, I hate to say it, wordy, negative review. Many readers invest themselves into a book. They dedicate themselves to read a writer's story to the end. Some have the good sense to put a poor book down. But others read on. An author needs to understand this, they may feel they want to shout out five hundred pages and more of text. But if it can be said in less... please do so. This would have been a better book, two hundred pages shorter, and the frustation with it would have been a hundred pages less, and the praise two hundred pages more. less
Reviews (see all)
Very interesting book about a period of English history I don't know a lot about.
Excellent book. Definitely one to add to my bookshelf at home.
Awesome just awesome
i love her books
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