The Conqueror: A novel of William the Conqueror, the bastard son who overpowered a kingdom and the woman who melted his heart

The Conqueror: A novel of William the Conqueror, the bastard son who overpowered a kingdom and the woman who melted his heart

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by Georgette Heyer
     
 

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The true story of the bastard son who made himself a king and the woman who melted his heart.


The stirring history of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, who invaded England and became the King. His victory, concluded at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is known as the Norman Conquest.


Known for her exhaustive

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Overview

The true story of the bastard son who made himself a king and the woman who melted his heart.


The stirring history of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, who invaded England and became the King. His victory, concluded at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is known as the Norman Conquest.


Known for her exhaustive research and ability to bring past eras to life, bestselling author Georgette Heyer tells the story of William the Conqueror, who became King of England in 1066, and his queen Matilda, the high-born noblewoman who at first scornfully spurned him. William was an illegitimate child of a nobleman, who won his dukedom through force of will, and went on to bring European feudalism to England, along with a program of building and fortification that included the building of the Tower of London.


The historical novel includes Heyer's brilliant period language and her perfect grasp of the details of the day - clothing, armor, weapons, and food - making for a fascinating and blood-stirring read.


Bonus reading group guide available inside.


"From the moment when the infant grasped his father's sword with a strength unusual in one so young, William showed himself a leader among men.


The Conqueror grew out of an incredible amount of historical research into the way of life, the way of speech, the way of thought, and feeling, and praying in the Eleventh Century. Without sacrificing the flow of her plot, Miss Heyer conveys an understanding of this period, more authentic as well as more colorful than many historical tomes. It is obvious in reading this novel that Georgette Heyer is indeed a mistress of her craft." - Best Sellers


"Perfect craftsmanship." - The New York Times Book Review


"Georgette Heyer achieves what the rest of us only aspire to." - Katie Fforde


"My favourite historical novelist." - Margaret Drabble

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Editorial Reviews

S. Krishna's Books
Heyer's descriptions and historical details make this book worth reading.
— Swapna Krishna
We Be Reading
Heyer continues to amaze me with the versatility of her writing through different genres.
— Kristen Metson
Jane Austen Today
With the story of William the Conqueror, Georgette Heyer tackles history on a grand scale and, in doing so, she provides her readers with a larger-than-life hero.
— Vic Sandborn
Books N' Border Collies
The unlikely friendship that develops between Raoul and Edgar is the heart of this book, and when the ambitions of William and Harold finally pit the two on opposite sides of the bloody Battle of Hastings, the reader will experience the horror of war, the sometimes painful cost of loyalty, and the majesty of true friendship.
— Lezlie Gits
Jane Austen's World
for those who cannot get enough of historical biographies, this newly reissued Georgette Heyer history is a must read!
— Vic Sandborn
BookLoons
Heyer masterfully develops their love story against a detailed backdrop of the times, rich in authentic historical detail. Like all of Georgette Heyer's excellent historicals, I have read and re-read The Conqueror, enjoying it anew each time.
— Hilary Williamson

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402233135
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
204,801
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Part II:

(10511053)
The Rough Wooing
'He must be a man of great courage and high daring who could venture to come and beat me in my own father's palace.'
Saying of Matilda of Flanders


As the long ship heaved on the waves one of the hostages gave a whimper, and curled his body closer, with his knees drawn up. Raoul was standing by the bulwarks, looking out over the sea. A pale moonlight turned the water coldly silver, shimmering under a night-blue sky; now and again flecks of foam glistened as though a star had dropped into the sea. From the masthead lanterns hung as beacons to show the other vessels where the Duke's ship rode. A small cabin built in the stern had a leathern curtain across the opening, and where this fell away from the doorpost a crack of yellow light shone. Amidships an awning sheltered the hostages. A lantern was secured to one of the supports; its glow illumined the faces of the three who crouched there on fur skins. Overhead a fitful wind bellied the sails, and from time to time the canvas slapped in the breeze, and the ropes creaked and whined.

Again the youngest of the hostages whimpered, and buried his face in the mantle of the man who held him. Raoul looked over his shoulder with a faint smile. The boy was so young and so unhappy. As he looked, the man holding the child raised his head, and his eyes, which were of a cold northern blue, encountered Raoul's. After a moment of grave regard he lowered them again to the fair head upon his knee.

Raoul hesitated for a while, but presently picked his way over the men who lay sleeping in their cloaks, and came into the light of the lantern under the awning. The blue-eyed man looked up at him, but his expression did not change.

Raoul, who had been charged with the comfort of the hostages, tried in a few halting Saxon words to speak to him. The hostage interrupted with a slight smile, and said in Norman: 'I can speak your tongue. My mother was a Norman out of Caux. What is it that you want of me?'

'I am glad,' Raoul said. 'I have wished to be able to speak to you, but you see how ill I am learned in your Saxon tongue.' He looked down at the youngest hostage. 'The boy is sick, isn't he? Shall I bring some wine for him? Would he drink it?'

'It would be kind,' Edgar replied, with an aloof courtesy that was rather chilling. He bent over the boy, and spoke to him in Saxon. The child Hakon, son of Swegn, grandson of Godwine only moaned, and lifted a pallid woebegone face.

'My lord has not before been upon the sea,' Edgar said in stiff explanation of Hakon's tears.

The third hostage, Godwine's youngest-born, Wlnoth, a boy hardly older than Hakon, woke from an uneasy sleep, and sat up, rubbing his eyes. Edgar said something to him; he looked curiously at Raoul, and smiled with a semi-royal graciousness.

When Raoul came back with the wine Hakon seemed to be exhausted from yet another spasm of sickness. When the drinking-horn was put to his lips he sipped a little between sobs, and raised a pair of tear-drowned eyes to Raoul's face. Raoul smiled at him, but he drew further back into Edgar's hold, as though he were shy, or perhaps hostile. But he seemed better after the wine, and inclined to sleep. Edgar drew the furs more closely round him, and said curtly: 'My thanks, Norman.'

'My name is Raoul de Harcourt,' Raoul said, determined to persevere in his friendly advances. He glanced down at Hakon. 'The boy is over-young to leave his home. He will be happier in a day or two.'

Edgar made no reply to this. His silence was rather a natural taciturnity than a studied rudeness, but there seemed to be no luring him from it. After a moment Raoul rose up from his knee. 'Maybe he will sleep now. Call on me for your needs.'

Edgar slightly inclined his head. As Raoul moved away Wlnoth said: 'Who is he, Edgar? What did he say?'

'He is the man we marked to ride beside Duke William,'

Edgar replied. 'He says that he is called Raoul de Harcourt.'

'I liked him,' said Wlnoth decidedly. 'He spoke kindly to Hakon. Hakon is a little fool to cry because he is sick.'

'He cries because he does not want to go to Normandy,' Edgar said rather grimly.

'He is a nithing.' Wlnoth gave a small sniff. 'I am very well pleased to go. Duke William has promised me a noble destrier and honourable entertainment. I shall ride in the lists, and shoot deer in the forest of Quévilly, and Duke William will dub me a knight.' Then, as Edgar made no response, he said tauntingly: 'I think you like it as ill as Hakon does. Perhaps you would rather have been outlawed with my brother?'

Edgar looked out across the silvered water as though he would pierce the darkness that shrouded the receding coast of England, but he still said nothing. With a hunch of his shoulders Wlnoth turned away from him, and disposed himself to sleep again.

Edgar stayed awake, nursing Hakon's head on his knee. Wlnoth's last words had bitten near the bone of the matter. He would far rather be in Ireland now with Earl Harold, than handed over like so much lumber to Duke William of Normandy. When King Edward had told him with his benign smile that he was to go to Normandy he had known all at once that he hated the silly King. He would have been at Harold's side then only that his father had forbidden it. He thought, now, bitterly, that a short exile with the Earl would have been preferable to his father than this far longer exile which might last for God knew how many dreary years.

The Duke had journeyed to England a few weeks ago, and his arrival had followed hard upon a commotion set up by yet another foreigner. This was no Norman, but Count Eustace of Boulogne, who had created a disturbance at Dover. He had also come to visit King Edward, and upon his departure some men of his had fallen foul of the inhabitants of Dover. This had resulted in a skirmish, and some blood-letting; Count Eustace had journeyed secretly back to London with a complaint for the King's ear.

A scowl darkened Edgar's brow as he thought of this. King Edward's subjects, and especially those of Earl Godwine's south country, had hoped that he would send the obnoxious Count away with a flea in his ear. Edgar supposed that they should have known their ruler better than to expect him to take sides against the foreigners he loved so dearly. But it still made him clench his hand when he considered how King Edward had promised Eustace redress.

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Meet the Author

The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her historical novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or private life. It is known that she was born in Wimbledon in August 1902, and her first novel, The Black Moth, was published in 1921.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Heyer's large volume of works included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known also as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and they had one son together, Richard.
The late Georgette Heyer was a very private woman. Her novels have charmed and delighted millions of readers for decades, though she rarely reached out to the public to discuss her works or personal life. She was born in Wimbledon in August 1902. She wrote her first novel, The Black Moth, at the age of seventeen to amuse her convalescent brother; it was published in 1921 and became an instant success.

Heyer published 56 books over the next 53 years, until her death from lung cancer in 1974. Her work included Regency romances, mysteries and historical fiction. Known as the Queen of Regency romance, Heyer was legendary for her research, historical accuracy and her extraordinary plots and characterizations. Her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously in 1975. She was married to George Ronald Rougier, a barrister, and they had one son, Richard.

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