Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: I am the Chosen King

I am the Chosen King (The Lost Kingdom 1066 - Book 2) by Helen Hollick

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781402240669

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

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Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

England, 1044. Harold Godwinesson, a young respected Earl, falls in love with an ordinary but beautiful woman. he marries Edyth despite her lack of pedigree, pitting him against his turbulent family and his selfish King, Edward.

In France, William, the bastard son of a duke, falls in love with power. Brutal and dangerously smart, William sets his sights on England, finding ambition a difficult lust to conquer.

With Edward old and dying, England falls vulnerable to the winds of fate - and the stubborn will of these two powerful men.

In this beautifully crafted tale, Helen Hollick sets aside the propaganda of the Norman Conquest and brings to life the English version of the story of the last Saxon King, revealing his tender love, determination, and proud loyalty, all shattered by the unforgiving needs of a Kingdom. Forced to give up his wife and risk his life for England, the chosen King led his army into the great Battle of Hastings in October 1066 with all the honor and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.


Harold, last of the Saxon King's is brought to life in Helen Hollick's latest release, I am the Chosen King. Hollick dispels a lot of the propaganda surrounding the Battle of Hastings and tells the story from a decidedly English point of view. Readers will be so enthralled by story and engaged by the characters that many will wish a different fate for King Harold. Hollick's research and knowledge of the time period give this book an edge in the historical fiction market. A must read for historical fiction fans!

In 1043, Queen Emma watched as her son, Edward became King of England. Edward known as "the confessor" never really wanted to be King and it showed in his reign. He was a weak king much like his father, Athelred. As Edward lays dying the winds of change brew in and outside England. Left vulnerable through Edwards inabilities as King and repeated warfare, England is about to face a Norman invasion.

Harold Godwinesson, Earl of Wessex is next in line to succeed Edward as King. He is the King chosen by the people, but Harold has problems of his own. By marrying a young woman named Edyth, a commoner, Harold faces the wrath of his family and their greed for power, while across the channel, William of Normandy is preparing to find glory of his own.

Hollick tells the story of the last Saxon King from England's standpoint. History portrays the Norman invasion as a good thing for England, but Hollick is able to blur the lines and show this point in history from a differing viewpoint. Being a former history major, most of the English history I learned started at the Battle of Hastings. Little consideration was given to the events that led up to the Battle or before and I was really interested in this series for that reason.

Starting with the Forever Queen, Hollick begins to tell a tale that centers on England before the Battle of Hastings. In I am the Chosen King she brings us to the brink of the Norman invasion. Her research is impeccable and I found her characterizations of those in the forefront engaging and real. The characters came alive and were very believable. The reader will be transported and become a part of the story as they ride with Harold by the River Lea when he first see's Edyth and they will ride with him again as he faces the battle of his life. I thought the author did such a wonderful job of making these characters become more than just names in a history book.

Hollick also does a great job of showing the character of Harold. Harold is shown as loyal and determined, a good king, though his ambition was to be a good husband and father. Harold's romance with Edyth is tender and gentle. It is not the main subject of the novel, but adds a sense of wonder and joy to the book, lightening the mood in some of the more dire parts of the story. Harold's relationship with his family is very volatile. His sister wishes to be Queen and will stop at nothing to see that happen. His brothers see a better future with William of Normandy than with their own brother. They seem a very cutthroat bunch, ready to sacrifice Harold in order to get what they want. Yet Harold, tries again and again to bring peace between them. Hollick portrays Harold as a wise and discerning King, who knew what he would face in the Battle of Hastings, and would not back down from the challenge.

I really enjoyed this book and I know that historical fiction fans will absolutely love it. Hollick has the ability to take a very detailed historical account and give it life. Her style is very approachable and leaves the reader feeling like they have learned a lot, while still being entertained. I recommend this one to historical fiction fans, history buffs, even historical romance fans. This book has a little bit of everything to satisfy many different types of readers.

I am the Chosen King is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one a very resounding 5 out of 5 apples!

Helen Hollick lives in Northeast London with her husband, daughter and a variety of pets, which include several horses, cats, and two dogs. She has two major interests: Roman/Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy - the early eighteenth century.


Helen Hollick said...

Thank you so much for such a lovely review - this is one of my favourites of my novels, so I'm a bit on edge that others will enjoy the read. Maybe I've no need to worry!

justpeachy36 said...

I can't see why you'd need to worry. I really enjoyed this one and I know others will too, Helen!

Thanks for stopping by.