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I’m happy today to be taking part in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour of E. M. Powell’s THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT!

This novel takes place in 12th century England, during the reign of Henry II. Benedict PalmerĀ is called upon by King Henry to protect his mistress, Rosamund, as someone is trying to kill her. Henry is seeking an annulment from Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, and someone thinks this is to put Rosamund on the throne; in fact, Henry seeks to legitimize his marriage to his previous wife. Their daughter, Theodosia, is married to Benedict, but living quietly and secretly in the countryside in a small village. Benedict, a former knight of Henry’s, has to protect Rosamund (not an easy job), while his wife tries to carry on at home. The ante continues to be upped by the schemer, who will stop at nothing to get rid of Rosamund (and Benedict and Theodosia!) and support Eleanor.

I really enjoyed this book. I love reading about British history, and seriously, if you think this plot is complicated, you should know that a lot of it is based in fact and stories about Rosamund, Eleanor, and Henry. That said, you should know that there is some disturbing violence in this book; life in those days was not easy! I really liked the character of noble, yet human, Benedict (even if he isn’t based in truth). I hope there are more books in this series.

Apparently, this book is a sequel to THE FIFTH KNIGHT, but you can certainly read it on its own – I did. And thank you for my review copy!

Here’s a bit about the author (via HFVBT):

E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller THE FIFTH KNIGHT which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State) she now lives in the north west of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She is a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for the HNS. Find out more by visitingwww.empowell.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Just a note — mea culpa — originally this post was supposed to run on January 5, but I had written it down as January 15. I heartily apologize for those who stopped by looking for my review!

Find this book at an indie bookstore near you — I am an Indie Bound affiliate:

The Blood of the Fifth Knight


Quick Review: PARIS by Edward Rutherfurd

I really enjoy Rutherfurd’s books and have read most of them. I think my personal favorite is NEW YORK (see my review here: https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/review-new-york-by-edward-rutherfurd/ ). I bought PARIS for my birthday with a gift card I received. This tome weighs in at over 800 pages and it did not disappoint!

Similar to Rutherfurd’s other historical novels, PARIS follows the lineage of several families from medieval times to the 1900’s. Unlike some of his other novels, though, the timeline is not chronological, but jumps around, maintaining story lines throughout. Some readers may find this confusing, though I always find the family tree provided in the front of the book very helpful (I read a paper copy, not on my kindle).

Since Paris is one of my favorite places, it’s not surprising that I really liked reading this novel. The personal stories (fictitious) and the historical facts are interplayed so nicely, that you are learning while reading.

Quick Audiobook Review: “World without End” by Ken Follett

I loved the book and miniseries “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett, so I was thrilled to find the audiobook for its sequel, “World without End”, at the library (read by John Lee).

While this story takes place in Kingsbridge, the town that is the setting for “Pillars of the Earth”, it stands alone as a novel, being set 200 years later and with new characters (though references are sometimes made to the previous characters).

The story starts with four children, playing in the woods. They witness a murder and a secret, and this event sets the stage for the events of their lives, which are chronicled. Follett draws us a picture of Medieval England that is vivid and accurate. His characters are unique and the main characters are all quite different. I listened to this story in the car while driving and still could easily follow the plot (which was definitely not for the kids at times!). John Lee’s narration was a great touch to the story; he excels at providing unique character voices.

All in all, a great story!