Book Review: 1066: What Fates Impose by G.K. Holloway

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Matador
Pub date: 4 March 2013
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Description from Amazon

England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland.

Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold.

Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?

The book begins on the deathbed of William the Conqueror, as he prepares to meet his maker does he has have any regrets?

Back in 1045, Godwin; Earl of Wessex is one of the most powerful men in the land and his brood of sons are loyal and ambitious. Their power can often be seen as greed to others and they find themselves with enemies. When Godwin dies Harold is left to resume his place and works closely with Edward the Confessor even visiting Duke William of Normandy.

Harold doesn’t appear to have wanted the crown but can he refuse a dying man’s wish and if he accepts what will be his fate?

This book has so many characters I honestly thought I would get confused but the way it’s written resolves any confusion and I found it to be a very easy read, in fact I could have kept going if it was longer! It is over 400 pages but it’s so good I found I got through to the end very quickly.

The book is filled with striking descriptives of the surroundings as we are plunged into medieval England.

So abundant was the May blossom that year that it’s weight forced boughs to droop to the earth. In the woods the last of the spring bluebells carpeted the ground.  The trees flushed fresh green, the new season’s leaves bright against a clear blue sky. Everywhere the scent of early summer hung heavy in the air.

Holloway has infused life into the events running up to 1066. Those involved such as Harold Godwinson and Edward the Confessor are portrayed extremely well and their story is woven with fiction resulting in an excellent depiction of history.

Through the fog they made their way, clouds of breath rising from them, their feet crunching on the snow. As they entered the western door of the minster, they left behind them nothing but silence.  The echoes of footsteps and cleared throats mingled as they made their way through the cold, hard air, the smell of damp fresh cut stone in their nostrils. All were aware of history in the making; this was the first time a funeral procession had entered the building.

The battle scenes are superbly written, they’re detailed and gory to the point I felt I as standing on the battle field watching.

I liked Harold’s character in this book and was not a fan of William of Normandy who came across as vicious, sly and spoilt whilst Harold was friendly, loyal and honourable. How true to account that is I don’t know, but I was definitely Team Harold!

I liked the small chapters as it kept the story on track and brought the focus to whoever the chapter was about.

This is an incredibly captivating story of loyalty, pride, ambition, love and war that made me laugh and cry and I highly recommend to all historical fiction readers.

The only criticism I have of this is I wish there was more! Like a book about each Earl written by Holloway in the same way as this! That would be fabulous!

You can your copy here:
Amazon UK

For those who would like to know more, I am thrilled to say Glynn Holloway has agreed to a guest post, which will be coming very soon! Hopefully we can find out what’s coming next!

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