Book Review: Rise of a Champion (Legend of the Cid) by Stuart Rudge

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Independently published
Pub date: 16 April 2020
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Antonio Perez is the son of a knight and a returning war hero, yet he loathes the idea of following in his father’s footsteps. But when his father is executed for alleged treason against Fernando, King of Leon-Castile, he launches a desperate bid to save his life and clear his name. Antonio soon learns that the world is much crueller and darker than he ever could have imagined. Bereft of hope and condemned to slavery for his sins, he finds himself in the household of a young knight named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, a man destined for greatness. Together, they must face their demons and put an end to the man responsible for the downfall of the fathers; known as Azarola, renowned for his fox like cunning and malice, and one of the most powerful lords of Leon. Rise of a Champion is the epic beginning to the Legend of the Cid.

Medieval Spain is not something I’ve read about previously but I was intrigued when I read the description and decided to give this a try.

Antonio Perez is a young boy desperate to make his father proud. The biggest obstacle is that his father is a knight and a warrior and Antonio hates violence and would much rather spend his days reading and learning. When his father is executed Antonio does everything he can to survive with the aim of avenging his father and proving his innocence.

Rudge has created a fascinating story based on the legend of El Cid and this first book introduces us to Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (El Cid) through the eyes of Antonio Perez who finds himself in the service of Rodrigo on his journey to avenge his father.

The vibrant sounds of the city faded. Silence settled as dusk blanketed the world. The darkness came, and the first of my tears along with it. Everything I once knew was gone and I was reduced to nothing.

The development of Antonio as a character was written extremely well, I felt like I was watching a young confused boy grow into a highly intellectual man and witnessing his trials and tribulations on his journey to clear his family name. By the end of the book I could almost imagine Antonio as a person and how he’d grown up from a weak boy to a man of courage and able to fight.

Another character I really liked is Arias, the seneschal of Rodrigo’s castle. At first I really disliked him but as I read more I found myself beginning to admire him and understand why he’d seemed so aggressive. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between Antonio and the both Arias and Rodrigo change as circumstances and events unravel.

Having not read much historical fiction based in Spain I found the descriptives to be quite vivid, from the weather to the differing landscapes across Spain.

There is some gruesome scenes but I found them very well written and the final battle scene was so good, I was totally gripped and just had to know the outcome! I was trying to read faster and faster so I could find out what happens to the individuals I’d come to really like!

This is the first book published by Rudge and I am pleased to find out there are more to come as I was actually a bit disappointed when I finished. I wanted to carry on reading about this story. It’s safe to say I will definitely be reading the rest when they’re released. I’m delighted to say that Stuart has agreed to a guest post here which will be published very soon! If you’d like to be notified of new posts please follow my blog or keep an eye on my Twitter.

Rise of a Champion is available here and is currently on Kindle unlimited

Amazon UK

If you’d like to find out more about Stuart Rudge you can find him on Twitter @stu_rudge or at his blog

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases


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