The Conqueror is one of six historical novels written by Georgette Heyer, who is best known for her Regency Romances, and if this is an indication of the other five - then sign me up!
Heyer brings us back to 11th Century Normandy and introduces us to William, Duke of Normandy, (a.k.a. William the Bastard) through the eyes of Raoul de Harcourt - a knight in Duke William's retinue.
Raoul began his service to the Duke as a young knight and he quickly rose to be one of William's most trusted friends. Loyalty is a running theme throughout the novel - loyalty from a knight to his lord. Raoul may not have agreed with a lot of the tactics used by William, but he trusted and respected his lord enough to comply. Don't get me wrong, Raoul was no pushover - he voiced his opinions when it was warranted, but in the end he knew his role and played the part.
Duke William was a very intriguing man - ambitious would be putting it lightly. He valued brain over braun and cunning over might. Once he saw something he wanted, he got it. Doesn't matter how, but he got it. Which leads me into a great scene with William and his future wife, Mathilda....but I'll leave that for you to read! Let's just say it's not a good idea to call William a bastard!
One aspect of why I love historical fiction is the educational factor. I know I'm a total dork, but it's true - I've learned so much history through all the historical fiction novels I have read. I take some of it with a grain of salt cause it's historical fiction after all, but for the most part I know a lot more than I did a few years ago. While reading The Conqueror I learned a great deal more about the difference between an Englishman (or Saxon) and a Norman and the Battle of Hastings scene was not put-down-able!
I enthusiastically recommend this novel! Heyer's writing is impeccable and her research is without a doubt one of the best. Character development is awesome and dialogue excellent. The Conqueror keeps you enthralled during and wanting more when you're done...which is how every good book should be!
Amy says: 5 / 5
Soundtrack: Conquest by Whitestripes