Harold is a savvy, cunning, and talented knight who throws his full support and loyalty behind Empress Matilda. The plot moves at a fast pace, with plenty of intrigue, conflict, and well-drawn out scenes that kept me flipping pages to learn what Anarchy by Stewart Binns is a powerfully told story through the eyes of a 12th century letter named Folio. The plot moves at a fast pace, with plenty of intrigue, conflict, and well-drawn out scenes that kept me flipping pages to learn what happens next. The author is exceptional at storytelling. Even Robert of Hode aka Robin Hood makes an appearance with great believability.
Although this is the third book in the Making of England series, this book easily stands alone and it is not necessary to read the previous two novels. But rest assured, this book was so delicious of a read, stunning, a blockbuster of an adventure, that I am eager to read the other two. Stewart Binns is a talented author whose books read like a movie, allowing the reader to deeply immerse themselves in the tale he tells.
Gripping, real, poignant, this is a book not to miss. One I highly recommend. Harold of Hereford is a man born of history and will grow up with the destiny of England in his grasp. Descended from a line of English heroes who have all fought for English liberty from Norman rule he must learn the ways of a warrior if he is to continue the fight. Sent from England to hone his skills in the war-torn Christian states of the Middle East, Harold and his loyal retainer Eadmer first travel to Venice to enlist in the Doges Navy. Disaster and misfortune dog the mission and Harold must use all of his new found experience to safely deliver Livia to her husband but a betrayal will leave him bitter and discharged from the Doges service.
Knighted by the Doge and with a reputation as a fighter, Harold soon comes to the attention of a new fighting force in the Crusader states. As a founder member of the Templers he is sent to England to raise money and recruit for them but he finds England in turmoil.
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King Henry is dead and the land is locked in a civil war between his chosen heir Empress Matilda and her cousin Stephen who has usurped the throne. She may be the daughter of the Norman King Henry but in her runs, the blood of English Saxon kings and she is the only hope for a fairer England. With Harold as her Military adviser she sets of to win back her rightful throne but on the way her and Harold become lovers and Harold will influence the English monarchy in ways he could never of imagined. This is the third book from Stewart Binns and one of the strengths of the previous books has been the character development and this continues with Harold of Hereford.
From a young man struggling to live up to his families past and successes, he uses the almost constant state of warfare to learn his skills and grow as a person and goes from a inexperienced young solider to a battle hardened and tough captain of men. A relatively unusual aspect of the book is the strong women characters. While he maybe inspired by the tales of this male relatives exploits its the women in his life who mold and make the man.
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This gives the book a much softer side to an often brutal and bloody period of history and really adds another dimension to the story. We still get plenty of fighting and hacking scenes and the naval scenes in particular are very good so there is something for everyone. This book is set in one of the most traumatic periods in European history, with a state of constant small scale warfare between England and France, Mediterranean city states vying for trade and a battle of survival in the Christian states in the Middle East, Anarchy is an apt name for this book.
This book brings to life those turbulent times and populates it with a great cast of characters, I can highly recommend this book!
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Oct 20, Robin Carter rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction. This title by Stewart Binns is something on the surface I should have found fault with, should have picked holes in. There is a certain amount of generality to the people, the nations, the time period. The plot misses so much rich depth that could have been added to the time period. And yet none of this matters, because the plot powers along at a wonderful pace, the characters are real, humble, flawed and at the same time stylised in such a fashion that it appeals at a different level, for me.
This series has for me been about a journey to find and explore the innate elements that make the British, British. What are the character building blocks that created the stiff upper lip, the boys own childish delight in tinkering, the genius for innovation, the intrepid explorers, and the do or die trying spirit. When you break it down to Celts, Saxons, Danes, Normans etc.
Mix all of this into a pot that is the unique landscape and history of the country you get the British. Harold of Herford is the latest incarnation, the latest ingredient in the mix, and all of it is done with power pace, style and a little I believe humour.
But the power and charm of this book is the telling not the facts. I will go an learn more about this period and I expect there to be many differences. At the same time this is more about the mix, the moral and the tale telling. It Should have added an element of farce, but instead added a great little side legend and the development of the Robin Hood legend and its possible tie to the Hereward legend.
The whole book was a pleasure to read and I think shows the authors talent in television, how to engage with the audience and carry them on a journey with his cast of characters. This book was devoured in a single sitting and went past so fast it left me missing the people involved and wondering what comes next and how long do I need to wait. I have no issue recommending this very Highly as a splendid way to spend the day.
Oct 22, Lesley Lodge rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-novels-stories. Great historical novel which gives a vivid account of 50 years in the life of knight and adventurer Harold of Hereford. A definite page-turner: I felt drawn right into that world. I already knew a bit about the crusades, the Knights Templar and some of the key events mentioned but I had no idea just how brutal and chaotic the civil war between Matilda and Stephen was — for everyone, peasant or knight.
There are maps, genealogies and a glossary for those who want more on the actual history of the period 12th century. Darn good yarn from Stewart Binns. He's managed to cram just about every English hero from the middle ages into one story from Hereward the Wake to Robin Hood. Damn good stuff. Feb 23, Apple Austria rated it liked it. Jun 28, Hege rated it it was amazing Shelves: historic-novel. A must-read for all fans of historic novels! Jul 14, Rebecca Cresswell rated it it was ok. My least favourite of the Making of England series Lionheart was much better! About Stewart Binns. Stewart Binns.
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.
Anarchy (Making of England, #3) by Stewart Binns
Stewart' Stewart Binns began his professional life as an academic. Stewart's passion is English history, especially its origins and folklore. Conquest is his first novel. Other books in the series. Making of England 4 books. Books by Stewart Binns. Trivia About Anarchy Making o No trivia or quizzes yet. Father to son. Every name of every painter in one single book. So, yes, history repeats itself, and yes we continue to ignore its lessons — but forget about looking backwards for a moment and give us a glimpse of the near future in this country.
What do you see? I ask. Pliny complained about all that Roman gold going East, and I think it will do so again. Books Authors.
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