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Monday, February 11, 2013

Review: Feud by Derek Birks

Title: Feud
Author: Derek Birks
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: August 17, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You like your HF with a good dose of action.
What's the Story?:

From "When Ned Elder’s father and brother are murdered and his sisters abducted by his brutal neighbours the Radcliffes, the young knight is forced to flee from his home. His sister Emma is torn from the quiet harmony of her household and forced into marriage. Eleanor, her wild and beautiful younger sister, is condemned to austere imprisonment in a remote nunnery. However, neither Ned nor his sisters are willing to concede all to the Radcliffes without a fight. And so the feud begins …

But in 1459 England stands on the brink of chaos as the most powerful nobleman in the land, Richard of York, and the weak king, Henry of Lancaster, prepare to settle their differences on the battlefield.

The fate of Ned and those dear to him hangs upon more than just his skill with a sword, but on the courage and tenacity of his sisters and the small band who travel with him, as the feud of Elders and Radcliffes is played out amid the blood and misery of civil war."

My Two Cents:

I could not have picked a more appropriate time to read Mr. Birks' "Feud" really. This book takes place in the throws of the War of the Roses in the 1400s. Just last week, Richard III's, one of the kings of the era, body was identified as really being that of the infamous king. The body was found under a car park in Leicester, England. It was definitely an interesting coincidence! It was very cool to be reading about Richard's time period when his body was identified. This is the stuff of a history lovers' dream!

"Feud" is the story of two families (fictional, in this case) who are fighting over land rights while the War of the Roses rages on in England. It was so interesting to me to see how far people would be willing to go in order to extract a little bit more land. As Birks points out in the historical note section of the book (love when authors include these sections; I'm always interested in a good backstory behind a book), because rule of law was sort of not really present during the war, a lot of these little skirmishes between various families were allowed to get totally out of hand, which is exactly what happens between the two families in this book.

Through all of the fighting, we get to see how rough a lot of people had it while the War of the Roses was going on. It was not a glamorous time to live. Some of the things that happen to some of the main characters are a little hard to read (poor Ellie having to go to the horrible convent where she's basically jailed in a building that is falling apart). The grittiness is not overdone or gratuitous. You definitely get a swift dose of reality in this book. Birks' eye for detail is so great in this book!

There are a lot of battle scenes in this book. And for me, they were very long and some of them were very complicated to follow, which kind of took me out of the book a little bit. I also wish that we got to know some of the characters a little bit better.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who is interested in how people's lives were during the War of the Roses years if you were not directly in either the Lancaster or York parties.



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