Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods. In the fading light, the trees began to take on unfamiliar and menacing shapes.
We all know the myth of the “princes in the tower” and their evil uncle, Richard, who murdered them. Mainly because of Shakespeare’s play. This novel attempts to recreate the life of Richard of Gloucester, and the times in which he lived and died. And it does a great job of bringing the era to life. It also does an excellent job in dispelling many of the rumours about Richard and his rule. But more importantly than that Penman creates real characters that are entertaining and believable. The one huge problem with historical fiction, especially those novels written about real people is that you know how it the story is going to end.
I was neither a stranger in this territory, nor familiar with it. The last time I had passed this way, the route into the wilderness of forest and snow that was the northern land of Pohjola had been an open gorge, guarded by nothing more sinister than white foxes, chattering mink and dark-winged carrion birds.
suppose that you are thinking that a series entitled The Merlin Codex might be about the Merlin of the Arthurian legend. If so, and you are expecting Camelot to make an appearance in this book, you are in for a surprise. Yes, the main protagonist is Merlin, but he isn’t the character you might have expected. Instead, although very old he is also quite young. In appearance at least. And instead of serving or advising Kind Arthur he travels with Jason of the Greek myths. The book is set hundreds of years after the quest for the Golden Fleece, and the love affair with Medea and the resulting tragedy, but Jason is not dead. He has been kept in a sort of suspended non-life by the magic of his ship, the Argus, and now Merlin has returned to bring him back to life. Merlin, you see, has discovered that Medea did not actually kill her two sons.
Author: Irene Nireovsky
Two novellas and some appendices make up this book. The two fiction pieces were intended to be part of a series of books about France during World War II, but the author, Irene Nemirovsky died in a concentration camp in August 1942, and that is what makes up the non-fiction element of this book. Of course the real like story of Nemirovsky, and how this book came to be published makes up a large element of the media coverage surrounding the novel, but the fiction element alone deserves attention. The background, and fact that it was written as these events were taking place, adds to the work as a whole.
The first Vargas book I read was Seeking Whom He May Devour, which I loved, and the reason I picked it up was because I liked the cover, well, this one doesn’t have quite such a gripping cover, but it really did grow on me. It is quite simple, just a tree picked out by a shaft of light in a garden, everything else is half hidden in the darkness. It really suits the story.
As I’ve mentioned before characters are what make, or break, a book for me. And this book has great, if slightly odd, stars. Eccentric is probably the polite term.