Having taken part in the invasion of England, and later suffering serious injury in battle, Sir Alan of Thorrington is asked to use his wits to assist King William in the political and judicial arenas, and to use his specialist knowledge as a siege engineer. Dispatched to the Welsh Marches, Alan negotiates the surrender of Eadric 'The Wild', before again acting as a spy in the North of England. Journeying with the embassage to the king of Scotland, when one of the embassage is foully murdered Alan takes the leading hand in the investigation. Shipwreck, murder, intrigue and bloody battles, culminating in the Revolt of the Earls, form part of this spellbinding story, set in the turbulent years following the Norman invasion and the subsequent subjugation of the English.
Historical detail and facts are woven into each story in the series, enriching the reading experience for the history aficionado. History comes alive on every page. Medieval England can be felt, heard, touched and smelt.
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Fire In the North: Norman Conquest Series Book 3 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Fire in the North is the last of the trilogy of Campbell’s Norman Conquest series, and is arguably the best. Alan de Gauville is now largely removed from the battlefield as a result of the injury he suffered in Winter of Discontent. Now a member of King William’s inner circle of advisors, his metier is now diplomatic machinations and the fair administration of justice (‘we’ll have a fair trial in the morning and the defendants will be swinging in the afternoon breeze’)- with a side-serving of solving a murder or two along the way. Historical events again provide the framework, into which Alan and the other characters are woven to make history interesting, and indeed intriguing. Although one of the invaders, Alan respects and supports the English in their by now peaceful struggles to maintain their identify, position and relevance, which his new-found position allows him to exert some influence to mitigate the situation of oppression and marginalisation in which the remaining thegns find themselves, a change from his more militant and bellicose response to the English Revolt of 1068-1070. As social change begins its steam-roller effects in 1070 Alan soon changes from an apologist mouthing Norman sentiments to a protagonist actively seeking to prevent complete English subjugation and the annihilation of the rich Anglo-Saxon culture. The pathos of the last-remaining English earl being executed for alleged passive involvement in the entirely-Norman Revolt of the Earls in 1075, when the active Norman protagonists merely suffered exile or imprisonment, also meant the death of the relevance of the English in the Norman-led politics of the era - and with Waltheof died Campbell’s central theme shown in the books of this series. A great story, well-told. Strong characterisation and a strong plot with a consistent focus. Fact and fiction, and historical detail, are melded seamlessly in one of the best fictional novels of the genre.