Book Review: The Fall of Kings (Legend of the Cid Book 3) by Stuart Rudge

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Self published
Pub date: 5 February 2021
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Castile. 1071AD

Three kings. One crown.

After Sancho II of Castile dispatches his champion Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar to capture his brother, King Garcia of Galicia, he hopes it is a defining moment in his quest to reunite the lands of his father under one banner. But Alfonso VI of Leon is one step ahead, and has already added the lands of Galicia to his domain. When the only alternative is war, Sancho turns to Rodrigo to lead the armies of Castile, and he must use all his tactical acumen to defeat the Leonese in the field. Only one son of Fernando can claim victory and become the Emperor of Hispania.

Rodrigo and Antonio, now a knight of the realm, find difficulty adjusting to the new regime. Dissent and unrest run rife throughout the kingdom, and the fear of a knife in the dark from enemies old and new hangs heavy upon the pair. But if it is allowed to fester, it threatens to undo all that has been achieved. Can Rodrigo and Antonio root out the enemies of the king, and prevent chaos reigning throughout the land?

The Fall of Kings in the breath taking third instalment of the Legend of the Cid.

In the first instalment Rise of a Champion we follow Antonio Perez on his journey from his home following the death of his father, first becoming a slave then a squire to Arias the castellan to Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar.

Antonio has sworn vengeance for his father against Azarola and al-Baytar. Azarola also happens to be married to Beatriz, sister of Arias.

The second instalment, Blood Feud, Antonio and his new friend Mas’sud uncover a plot by Antonio’s nemesis to overthrow the amir of Saraqusta. The battle sees Rodrigo and his men face hundreds of men and they have no choice but to fight for their lives as well as protecting the amir.

This instalment begins in 1071 in the Kingdom of Galicia. Antonio, Rodrigo and a band of warriors have travelled from Castille to capture King Garcia, the brother of King Sancho, whom Rodrigo serves.

With the capture of Garcia, Sancho hopes to expand his kingdom but his other brother Alfonso, King of Leon has not been idle and soon brother is pitted against brother in an attempt to crown one of them as King of Castile, Leon and Galicia.

Although Antonio has now risen he has not forgotten his promise to avenge the death of his father and that promise now has an additional vow. His duties might find him torn between his vow and his duty to Sancho.

This is one of those books where in parts you try to read faster and faster to find out what happens and other parts you hold your breath and almost don’t want to continue.

As with the previous two the battle scenes are depicted in detail and are gruesome but really give a sense of what these men faced.

His sword flashed left and right, sprayed crimson where it went. He held the banner in his left hand with the reins of Babieca looped around his arm, and the steed reacted with the deftest of touched as the alferez of Castile fought with the fury of the Devil himself. No one could stand against his onslaught.

The characters I’d grown to like develop even further and I loved Rodrigo, Mas’sud, Esidero and Gotinus and I love their bond.

Some brothers are born from the womb, others from the chaos of war. Our bond was forged from the fires of vengeance. Never forgive, never forget.

Antonio’s wife Constanza features much more in this instalment and also became a favourite. Of course there’s also the ones you can’t help but dislike, Uracca being the main culprit for me!

Rudge manages to add some humour into the story through the banter between the warriors but I will admit that personally this was the saddest book so far. I don’t like spoilers but those who know the legend of El-Cid will probably know what I’m referring to.

Rudge has blended history and fiction perfectly creating the perfect series to learn and enjoy the events of medieval Spain and the legend of El-Cid.

As with the previous books in the series, Rudge provides a note at the end explaining which parts are based on history and where he has used his imagination which I always find interesting to read.

The Fall of Kings is out today and can be purchased here ! I cannot wait for the next instalment, this is really exciting series with incredible battle scenes and fantastic characters.

If you’d like to read my reviews of the first two books, they can be found below along with a Guest Post where I was able to ask Rudge a whole bunch of question.

Rise of a Champion

Blood Feud

Guest Post – Stuart Rudge

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