- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Set amidst the pomp and savagery of twelfth-century Europe, the Alix of Wanthwaite trilogy renders a glorious mishmash of ruffians, peasants, troubadours, murderers, pretenders, barons, princesses, and popes in charming and disarming detail. Alix’s bawdy, free-wheeling narration wickedly lampoons historical notables like Richard the Lion Heart and Eleanor of Aquitaine, spinning the historical novel in a fresh direction. This guide is designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Alix’s escapades in The Prince of Poison.
1. Much of the action in the novel occurs at the intersection of humor and violence. The attempted rape in the novel’s opening pages is dotted with puns, for example, and the horror of the shipwreck on page 85 is mitigated by the comedy of Alix resuscitating ducks. How does this affect your reading of the many tragedies in the novel, from Bok’s decapitation to the murder of the pregnant woman at the gates of La Rochelle to the rape of various barons’ wives and daughters? What point is the author making with this juxtaposition?
2. Of her infant son, Alix states, “I was deliriously happy to be loved without ulterior motive” (page 42). What ulterior motives drive Enoch, Bonel, and John in loving (or thinking they love) her?
3. Who leaks the news of Alix’s presence in Rouen? Why does Queen Eleanor have a vested interest in helping Alix and Theo escape? Given their complex history, why does Alix trust Eleanor this time?
4. What is the symbolic significance of the poison frog that Alix nearly strokes on her way home to Wanthwaite? Why does the image recur when Alix arrives in King’s Lynn? Why does Alix initially pretend to lose the little girl’s frog rather than tell her the truth about its dangers? What does this tragic scene on the beach signify?
5. How does Lord Robert convince the Pope that the assassination attempt on John was not only innocent and thus pardonable, but in fact laudable?
6. What does Cardinal Langton stand to gain by assisting the barons? What argument does he present against the writing of a charter? How does he sabotage the Magna Carta they so painstakingly compile?
7. Why has Bonel’s ardor cooled by his second night at Wanthwaite? Why does he refuse Alix’s offer of private acreage on Wanthwaite as a safe haven?
8. What bargaining chip does Alix gain over Queen Isabella? What weakness does it expose in John?
9. What does Bonel mean when he tells the assembly of barons: “I mean no disparagement when I say that we are all Jews together” (page 250). How does his comment affect Enoch?
Posted May 17, 2012
Posted September 20, 2011
Posted July 21, 2006
I read and adored the first two books in this series. I find it hard to believe that the same author who wrote the first two books also wrote this mess. The book was full of mis-spelled words, Enoch's dialogue is so indecipherable I gave up trying to read it, and the action is so disjointed that I had a hard time following the story line. Very disappointed - this book will not be joining the first two in their places of honor on my bookshelves.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 3, 2006
Pam Kaufman opens with the best words: You are 'So beautiful and intelligent at the same time.' Truly, her latest book is a miracle, combing her experiences both from the world of theater and now of history. What a great read! WOW. I found myself slowing down, and then further slowing down as the end neared. I did not want the story to end. I join all your readers in this literary romp. May the Publisher keep you forever busy. What a talent Pamela Kaufman has. BRAVO! She makes page turning a gift. The chapters are just the right length and then she ends them with such dashing, delightful surprises. A number of times I simply put the book down and said outloud, I didn't see that coming. WOW. A tale with sharp insights: 'And, remember that intelligent begins with being realist. Forget wishes, accept what you actually find.' 'Cannon law plus money, don't forget.' 'He listened intently and spoke little, and thus gained authority.' 'Intelligence meant penetration. . . . Intelligence meant cunning.' The treat includes learning much about the Magna Carta which is also included as an Appendix. I confess that It took some time for me to relax with all the dirt and sordid daily life of the 12th Century, even after having read William Mancher's 'A world Lit Only by Fire.' Pamela Kaufman's Alix provides a personal perspective to life with Kings, Earls, Barons, Jews, and Archbishops. far better understand living in that time. Thanks for a Grand Romp.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.