Tuesday 13 July 2010

Review: The Brothers of Gwynedd - Edith Pargeter

Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 720
Published: May 2010 Sourcebooks Landmark

This book consists of 4 books in one.

Book 1 Sunrise in The West
Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd, dreams of a Wales united against the English, but first he must combat enemies nearer home. Llewelyn and his brothers—Owen Goch, Rhodri, and David—vie for power among themselves and with the English king, Henry III. Despite the support of his beloved wife, Eleanor, Llewelyn finds himself trapped in a situation where the only solution could be his very downfall.

Book 2 The Dragon at Noonday
In this gripping sequel to Sunrise in the West, Wales is gloriously united, while England is torn in two by bloody strife. 

Book 3 The hounds of Sunset
Powerful Prince Llewelyn still treasures his vision of a Wales united against the threat of the English kings. The dream seems near fulfilment until Edward, vigorous, ambitious, and arrogant, takes old Henry's place on the English throne—and more than his share of power. Trouble also looms nearer home, where the youngest of the Welsh brothers, David—blue-eyed, charming, and deadly—is plotting Llewelyn’s downfall. Threatened on all sides, Llewelyn looks for comfort from the beautiful Eleanor de Montfort, the jewel in his crown and the only shining star as night falls on his dreams of power.

Book 4 Afterglow and Nightfall
A Burning Desire for One Country, One Love, and One Legacy That Will Last Forever.

I reviewed book one back in May and said that it was a heavy book to read, not cos it's so big, but because the language is a bit dry. And the first book lead up to things where Llewellyn finally got his throne.

In the second book there was more strife, and then the third book become more interesting. And this was my favorite part of this book. Llewellyn decided that he would marry Eleanor of Montfort, and he waited almost 15 years for her. 2 or 3 years of their married life she spent in the kings care when he did not want this marriage. But then they finally got to meet, and she had waited too. That is the part I like, they knew they should be together. I wondered if history would have looked differently if he had married 20 years before and had a bunch of kids, one getting away in the end and raising the banner later. 

I also enjoyed his brother David's story, he was truly handsome and all the women loved him, but at last his grey little mouse for a wife caught him and he loved her fiercely.

I think what i would have liked is to see the story through Llewellyn's eyes, instead it was through Samson's eyes, and as the prince's secretary he tells us this story. A rather dry story that seems like a chronicle from the Middle Ages, which is the point, but I would have loved to read a story instead. Now it is rather textbook like at times, well not when Samson mourns the woman he wants.

I think this book is for the hardcore Welsh fans, because here you really get the whole story. The brothers fighting each other, fighting the English and then sadly the fall of Wales. The dragon no more. We all know it will end like that, it is no spoiler, there is no principality of Wales. And Llewellyn is called the Last for a reason.

I would have liked a family tree, that I do confess, I did a lot of googling while reading this book, trying to see if anyone survived or how many kids they got.

For me it was too dry, I couldn't loose myself in the story like with other historical books, and I do love Wales, I mean I smiled big when they mentioned Mur-y-castell. But others do seem to enjoy these books, and they are one thing for sure, rich with a colorful history.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner. You should see the silly hat on one of those guys ;)
Reason for reading: From sourcebooks
Final thoughts: An epic story about the struggle for Wales, and a prince that will be remembered forever.


  1. Crap, my comment got eaten...I think :(( I said: I think this book is perhaps for true, hardcore historical lovers then, which I am, unfortunately, not. Though I did read another HR in the same time period & setting - Jane Watt with KALEIDESCOPE - and loved it. I guess I'm fickly that way :S

    *copying this comment for save meassures if it gets eaten again*

  2. Definitely not for me. I like my historicals light'n'fluffy. :)

  3. lol the silly hat! I'm trying to check it out.

    Yep, I agree with Leotine, sounds pretty hardcore. :) But imagine if you love it - 4 books in 1 - good to be worth it.

    Hope coupled life is treating you well, Blodeuedd!

  4. Great review! I have only read books 1 & 2 but really LOVED them and am trying to hurry up and get to the last two. Glad to hear that book 3 was better for you.

    Wales has an amazing history!

  5. Leontine
    Hate when that happens, used to happen all the time on bf's computer, and always when I had written a long comment.
    Hm, must have a look at Jane Wyatt if you liked her that much :D

    Aye the fluffy ones are great

  6. Sassy
    Find a book big, it's worth it ;) Such a silly hat lol.
    If you love it then this one is great, I like when I get many books in one!
    It's good, all good ;)

    I hope you enjoy book 3 too! I just liked (well ok a bit creeped out, but it was another time) how Llewellyn wanted to marry her

  7. hmmm, i think i'll pass on this one. i don't really like dry books. thanks for the honest review!

  8. I may have asked you this before, but have you read Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh trilogy? I like the first one the MOSTEST, but the other two aren't bad, either. Might be a less dry read than this one, if you want to get a different perspective!

  9. Carrie
    It doesn't always suit everyone, but that is the life of a booklover :)

    lol, yes once or twice ;)
    I really must have a look at it one day

  10. It is a shame that this is a dry book b/c the love story sounds pretty awesome (waiting 15-20s for the woman you love -- wow!).

  11. Hmm, sourcebooks is putting out some interesting books lately. They've certainly got a huge variety going. Sounds interesting, but I do have a hard time paying attention if books are too much about dry history.

  12. DC
    He knew that it would be the right woman for him, and they got so few years!

    Oh I know, Sourcebooks are publishing some very cool books lately. Have you tried sending something to them+

  13. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you with this comment. We'd like to offer you to be included on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Jen

  14. Congrats on getting through this one. I did find it quite dry and was having a hard time with it. I thought the first story wasn't too bad but I never did continue. I might one day but now isn't the right time - you need a bit of concentration for this one. lol.

  15. Smiling at the mention of Mur-y-Castell. Made me wonder if your nickname Blodeuedd also comes from Wales. I meant to ask you what that name means...

  16. Jen
    Shall think about it :)

    Oh yes, concentration is one thing you can't miss here, that's for sure.
    I hope you get back to it one day

    I am just finishing my interview for stacey so should include that :)
    Cos yes it's Welsh and it shall be explained

  17. Hi B!

    This one would have been a struggle for me, not my cup of tea for sure. I love stories rife with history, especially history I can look at, like googling, but I need a charismatic story to start with and this would have been to dry, to done for me. I would have known the ending by the beginning...

    (which I guess it the whole point)


    Dottie :)

  18. Probably not for me but my grandma loves this stuff. I'll pass it on!

    Teens Read and Write

  19. Dottie,
    Lol, even when I do not know the end...I go and google, it's like this evil spoiler thing out there. But I just gotta know ;)

    That's nice that your grandma likes books like this one. I finally got my mum to read, but she seems to go for these 19th century Norwegian/Swedish mountain stories, lol

  20. I can see I'll probably be passing on this one. I don't mind dense historical fiction, but even that can be written in such a way that you can get lost in the story. And family trees are definitely a must with this type of book.

  21. I really struggled with the first part of the book, but liked the second part a lot more.

    I was intending to keep to the suggested schedule so should be posting my thoughts about the third part tomorrow, but too many other books have gotten in the way and I haven't even started the third part yet.

  22. Alyce
    Such a must, well there is always google, but I would have liked to see it in teh beginning

    I just got it over with, well wrong thing to say, but it was so huge so decided to read them all at once ;)



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