Sunday, 30 June 2013

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Making of England 3: Anarchy - Stewart Binns

Release Date: 20/06/13
Publisher:  Penguin


Anarchy" is the knuckle-whitening third novel in Stewart Binns' "The Making of England" series. Ruthless brutality, greed and ambition: the "Anarchy". The year is 1186, the thirty-second year of the reign of Henry II. Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London, has lived through long Henry's reign and that of his grandfather, Henry I. He has witnessed the terrifying civil war between Henry II's mother, the Empress Matilda, and her cousin, Stephen; a time so traumatic it becomes known as the Anarchy. The greatest letter writer of the 12th Century, Folio gives an intimate account of one of England's most troubled eras. Central to his account is the life of a knight he first met over fifty years earlier, Harold of Hereford. Harold's life is an intriguing microcosm of the times. Born of noble blood and legendary lineage, he is one of the nine founders of the Knights Templar and a survivor of the fearsome battles of the Crusader States in the Holy Land. Harold is loyal warrior in the cause of the Empress Matilda. On his broad shoulders, Harold carries the legacy of England's past and its dormant hopes for the future. Stewart Binns' "Anarchy" is a gripping novel in the great tradition of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell, and is the third in "The Making of England" trilogy, following "Conquest" and "Crusade". Praise for Stewart Binns: "Binns' stories are a terrific mix of history and human drama". (Celia Sandys: Author, presenter and granddaughter of Winston Churchill). "A fascinating mix of fact, legend and fiction ...this is storytelling at its best". ("Daily Mail"). Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. He then pursued several adventures, including a stint at the BBC, before settling into a career as a schoolteacher, specializing in history. Later in life, a lucky break took him back to the BBC, which was the beginning of a successful career in television. He has won a BAFTA, a Grierson, an RTS and a Peabody for his documentaries. Stewart's passion is English history, especially its origins and folklore. His previous novels in "The Making of England" trilogy are "Conquest" and "Crusade".


The new Making of England title by Stewart Binns that keeps the reader going into a new period with cracking prose, wonderful pace and of course characters that the reader really does want to be around as they see the history come to life before their eyes.

The battle sequences are sharp, the combat direct and when added to an almost cinematic storytelling style really works well for the historical fiction reader. Throw into the mix solid prose alongside a beautifully woven arc all round makes this a series that has gone from strength to strength and whilst currently stated that it’s a trilogy, there is plenty more scope for it to open into future titles.

1 comment:

Natalie Westgate said...

I'm not one for historical novels but I might just read this because of Harold of Hereford! I grew up in the Hereford&Worcester county (it's now seperate but wasn't when I was little) :D Great review!