Stewart Binns: Conuest Making of England #1

Absolutely dreadful I know it is about the Dark Ages just but it s simply fantasy Please be honest as an author if you made it up No part of this struck me as historical much seemed rather hysterical and not in the funny ha ha wayIf you enjoy the era covered don t read this it will just make you feel somewhere between angry and peevish This novel has a magnificent cover After that it is a massive disappointment Historically little is known of the outlawed resistance leader Hereward and so there is a lot of latitude to develop his character We know that the man was aggressive enough in his youth to merit outlawry and exile from Anglo Saxon England and we know he returned as a man to lead a revolt against William the Conueror with considerable skill cunning and determination Binns however transforms Hereward into a ditherer who could never have earned the respect of warriors much less his readers Despite having done nothing in the text of the novel to earn anyone s respect somehow every reat leader in Europe William himself El Cid MacBeth God knows who else vie to earn his respect and his service while Hereward waits for signs from magic amulets to let him know if he stumbles onto anyone worthy of commanding his allegiance Ugh If you want to read a The Commodore (Aubrey/Maturin, good version of Hereward s storyI recommend you read the trilogy by Marcus Pitcaithly instead It is 1066 and England is about to undergo the most cataclysmic change of history since the arrival of the Roman legions On one side the last Saxon king Harold II On the other side William Duke of Normandy William the Bastard William the Conueror The story is recreated on the Bayeux Tapestry which despite being a pro English piece of propaganda sites in a museum in Normandy Harold would be killed at that battle and England would once again be ruled by those of Norse descent The period of Norman Conuest would see a time of bloody battles but also an immense building programme of castles towns and cities andIn the middle of the two men is a third Hereward the Bourne What Never heard of him Neither had I and I hang my head in shame not just at thisap in my own knowledge but also at his omission from the history books Actually some people doubt his existence but regardless of this his story is no less impressive and if he did exist no less importantThis is the first in a series of novels charting the history of England I believe the final part is about Magna Carta This book is a fictionalised biography of Hereward as he and his armies retreat to the Fens and the Isle of Ely to resist the Norman advance An outlaw in life a proclamation made by Edward the Confessor for killing a Priest in this book the sources say it was for civil and familial disobedience he Dare Mighty Things goes to Wales and then Scotland on various uests and errands He meets Macbeth helps him to train his army and eventually returns home to take up armsThe writing style is easy on the eye it is not a heavy read by any stretch of the imagination and it is an easy book to absorb yourself into But there is a lot of explanation almost too much within the dialogue and the narrative and at times I find myself willing the pages on so the story can moveo somewhere I m not a The Texas Rangers Heiress Wife great fan of exposition and here there s just too much but at least it doesn t come in lumps as so many other books that fall into the trap do The narrative also reads like narration at times as though Simon Schama himself is reading it aloudWhen writing historical fiction it is important toet the environment right That is it must feel that you are in the right time and place Binns certainly manages that Though he doesn t Her Outback Protector (Men of the Outback go into the same intricate depth as Jean M Auel in her Earth s Children series there is enough there for it to feel satisfyingly medieval The petty politics and power struggles that areoing on around the Saxons and their would be Norman conuerors is also satisfyingly handledWilliam the Conueror is satisfyingly depicted a mean and shrewd warlord who loves war as much as he loves his Eternal Quest god In contrast I had mixed feelings about Hereward He was almost too much the knight in shining armour travelling the British Isles putting right the wrongs like a medieval Sam BeckettI m sorry to say that the battle when it comes is stodgy and passionless lacking the pace of Cornwell s Saxon Stories and the finesse and technical detail of Sidebottom s Warrior of Rome series I felt let down especially with such a big build upGood book but flawedSee book reviews at my blog I moing to break my unofficial The Widows Little Secret golden rule of not reviewing a book before I ve read it all the way through as I m pretty confident that I veot the measure of this readThis is the second interpretation of the legend of Hereward of Bourne aka Hereward The Wake that I ve come into contact with and to say it differs from the first namely James Wilde s version is putting it mildlyWhere Wilde s story was a far visceral Resurrection Year gritty and evocative a story Binns take is a far tamer almost safer interpretationIf they were movies Wilde s would probably be a uentin Tarantino movie hard brutal dynamic where this interpretation would be far in the style of a 1950s MGM style epic think The RobeThe tales also vary rather widely too For example in the Wilde interpretation Hereward only leaves England briefly when he is exiled and makes a name for himself as a mercenary in Northern Europe The Hereward of Binns novel travels the rim of the known world at the time taking in Dublin Norway Kievan Rus Constantinople southern Italy and up to Normandy even offering his services as a knight to William the Bastard himself putting him almost at polar opposite to his character in the other bookTo put the comparisons aside the writing style is uite reminiscent of Tim Severin s in his Viking trilogy in that it feels like it s been written by a historian than by a novellist Toive Binns some credit though the writing style in this book is a lot warmer and in keeping with the tale rather than feeling like an endless parroting of well worn sagas The only slight The Fire Within (Rockford Fire Department gripe is that with the character travelling as wide as he does there s barely any depth to his experiences in most of the places he visits beyond a sentance or two at most I suppose this is designed to not distract from thereater arc but it just winds up leaving you feel like you re fast forwarding through a storyIn fact this narrative would have arguably have been a better result had it been allowed to progress over a couple of installments say a trilogy. 1066 Senlac Ridge England William the Bastard Duke of Normandy defeats Harold Godwinson King Harold II of England in what will become known as the Battle of HastingsThe battle is hard fought and bloody the lives.

Stewart Binns È 4 review

Kindle Download Conuest Making of England #1 –

Ke before Proves his heart s in the right place whatever you think of the rest of the book It was ok I like read and write historical text books and novels This book could not make up its mind what it was and it takes a writer skilled than this to blend the two without losing the characterisation One thing I did learn from reading this was where that line was and I hope on re edit that I haven t done the same in my stuff and if I have to sort it out This as a real historical account has so much meat it seems a shame that the beginning and end were so hackneyed I won t do spoilers here but believe me Clich City This is one of my favourite time periods but rarely connected to the characters which was a shame It is clear this uy can write Maybe he needs a new editor So yeah not bad but not reat SPOILER FREEI virtually never leave reviews for books here but in this case I feel I have to justify listing this one as read where in fact I slogged 100 pages in over a period of a few weeks of apathetic reading and then abandoned it on the train may it find a happier reader I have back buttoned on a few tremendously crappy stories before but I think this might be the first case in which I ve abandoned a physical book like this other than obligatory school reading See I enjoy properly terrible fiction stuff that really scrapes the barrel And I like historical fiction or even historical fantasy but the problem for me with Conuest is that it somehow hits the wrong tone on every single note See I can read longer better nuanced and original fiction for free on the internet and the online community has evolved to a place now where it is almost rare to meet a Tame an Older Man (Harlequin American Romance, genuine Mary Sue in the flesh But Hereward in this novel is exactly that It s actually difficult to define what exactly is so flawed with the text but at a minimum there is a failure follow any show don t tell rules and youet wads of this history book 101 exposition that takes all of the teeth out of the drama Moreover in this day and age there are ways to package up historical objectification of women or other ineuality that rings true to the era portrayed yet Conuest uses all but the main character cheaply while neglecting to Treacherous Is the Night (Verity Kent, give Hereward any real depth either so for me it was just plain uncomfortable to read I suppose the book is 6 years old now but even so 2011 was hardly a spit ago while this reads like something written in Different Times I think for me the main issue is this feels like a very surface level story It tells you a lot about action but not a lot about people and that s not really enough for me Hereward s ultimatelory is a A Miracle, A Universe given even when the story is trying to show you he isrowing and so you don t et any real sense of actual progress He s impressive because the blank verse tells you so but there s no evidence and so it s difficult to rasp why everyone else in the story is convinced The villains are shallow and the women fall around the story convenient but needlessly naked purveyors of motivation and McGuffins At least they are in the first 100 pages but there s nothing really nothing to convince me it Aguecheeks Beef, Belchs Hiccup, and Other Gastronomic Interjections gets better further in More to the point why should I have to persevere for better It should beood from the start bad enough to be funny or at least just tolerably average I don t know what this is but there s a copy rattling around the Jubilee line for free if you want it While I was reading this I was constantly telling myself to hold on that little bit further just keep on Black Metropolis, Vol. 2 going it will pick up but it didn t The whole book felt very naive at least that s how I would describe it Naive and simple I wanted to like this a lot simply because it was about a real life man Hereward who I had never heard of before and I wanted to know about him and his life I mean it was as if I had discovered another British hero to stand up with William Wallace Llewellyn ap Gruffydd Alfred the Great a possible King Arthur a possible Robin Hood you know a real life hero However it was done poorly The conversation was stilted and ludicrous the observations pathetic and the chapters could have been separate stories Then his writing style didn t let you become attached to the characters feel their fear love desperation anything It was if someone wasiving the bare boned facts of his life in a slightly storytelling way It was obvious that this manauthor was a university lecturer first and a writer second it was not By Words Alone good writing Then there was the infallibility of Hereward Mary Sue syndrome I think everyone calls it nothing he did was wrong Kings ueens heroes of legend all went out of their way to love him and adore him He was unmatchable in combat Heot the hottest woman available For crying out loud he turns up at armies and declares that he is to be called a knight and that he will train armies and they let him Just because he wins a duel and because he says so It was pathetic No KingGeneral would let a man demand something of him like that and ive it to him not without him working his way up the King s favour anyway No it was all too fake Yet I want to finish this book someday Although I think that it is so that I can learn about Hereward but I feel that I might be satisfied If I read a non fiction book about him at least then I will be etting what I wanted I know some people out there will enjoy the heroics of Hereward and Enduring Truths go ahead and enjoy them But if you like a little bit of realism in your historical fiction look elsewhereHave Fun Reading Set during an interesting period of English history this book tells the tale of a character called Hereward of Bourne My main issue with the book is the shallow and featureless characters in fact probably some of the worst characters I ve come across Despite the book covering a large time span I never really feel like Iot to know the characters and found myself indifferent to their fate This isn t helped by the authors insistence to cover large periods of time in a matter of periods so you Myst get the impression you ve missed large aspects of their lives The redeeming feature of this book and the aspect that prevents me scoring it lower is the fantastic description and detailiven during battles and conflict Whilst the characters are some of the worst I ve come across the battle scenes and the authors ability to bring them to life are some of the best If Binns can sort out his character writing he could easily become one of the best historical fiction writers The knowledge and the potential is definitely ther. Ne man unites the resistance His name is Hereward of Bourne the champion of the English His honour bravery and skill at arms will change the future of England His is the legacy of the noble outlawThis is his sto.

Rather than crammed all into one 500page bookIn summary a The Chinese Love Pavilion good read if you happen to stumble across the book in your library oret The Peloponnesian War given it but not really one which is worth hunting down Sadly this book has a lot ofood plots and interesting characters Harold Godwinson Harald Hardarada William Duke of Normandy El Sid and and covers many years worth of history from different countries that the author Stewart Bin This is probably Dolphin Confidential going to be seen as auilty pleasure and I have Mairis Mermaid glanced at reviews which would suggest it is uite possibly not all that cool to say a bit like admitting to thinking The Da Vinci Code was one hell of a rollickingood and enjoyable read which is was you know it but I thoroughly enjoyed this one Yes I can see what is wrong with it but as a whole it holds together nicely and with a relatively unobtrusive style and is an all round rattling Windchill Summer good taleOf course I ve come across Hereward a fair few times Several recent book series have featured the 11th Century Fenland Terror James Aitcheson has had him in his tale James Wilde has written three soon to be four excellent novels based on him and his exploits real or imagined The brilliant Marc Morris in his The Norman Conuest non fiction look at the people who brought you 1066 and all that mentions Hereward several times and provides aood look at all the facts the few there are about him as well as mentioning some of the speculative stories Whether you come from other books to Marc s book or The Shadow of Your Smile go from there to other Herward stories you can see that amongst others the two James do at least touch base with what is known As does Stewart Binns here However and perhaps even than James Wilde at least until I ve slapped some peepers on 4 The Wolves of New Rome he picks up the Hereward ball and runs than a little further with it Wilde and Binns both seem to agree on Hereward s struggle with his anger issues but they solve them in different ways I don t think James Wilde has his Hereward at Senlac Hill nor does James Aitcheson Their Herewards only really come front of stage in the period after Hastings I think both Binns and Wilde are also implying that Hereward real person or not is possibly the source for the later development of the Robin Hood myth Something that possibly Robert Holdstock might like to comment on if he hasn t already done so and uite honestly after struggling through the stream of consciousness nonsense that was most of Gate of Horn Gate of Ivory I finally let himo his own way in a Mythago Wood novel I don t knowThe story begins perhaps surprisingly in the mountains of Greece To where the heir to the Eastern Roman Empire travels in search of enlightenment from a legendary old warrior now turned hermit Turns out the old warrior knew the Prince s father fought for him in the Varangian Guard The warrior is now 82 but instead of The Three Worlds giving the Prince the One to Ten of what to do tells him a story from which he can draw his own lessons from It is the warrior s life storyYou veuessed by this point that the old hermit is Hereward though he does seem to have the name Godwin for some reason He begins telling his story from his wild childhood days through his rebellious youth to adulthood and maturity through many of the period s historic milestones his lifespan has encompassed He was of course at Hastings and tried to rally the English forces thereafter but had to in the end leave and travel abroadThere are several nice touches Here Hereward has to persuade a reluctant Harold to take the throne Where Harold actually sympathises with Edward s position and therefore William s claims You can see with some of the incidents that In the Belly go on in Harold and Hereward s time in Normandy where some of the tactics they would later use against William come from for instance There doesn t seem to be any evidence for any of the above though if I remember rightly James Wilde does have Hereward on the continent before Hastings Here Edward on his deathbed makes Harold his successor Again found in other books and history After the rebellion dies out Hereward agrees too abroad James Wilde has his Hereward meeting William but only after the battle Morris says there is a legend that they met to save England from further turmoil and anguish at William s hands but that could be blamed on Hereward As a whirlwind tour of the period s hotspots and big names in Britain and the rest of Europe it is undoubtably a Becoming Mona Lisa great read Some of the people he meets may be stretching it a little but then I don t know enough about for instance Spanish folk law to comment with any certainty In that respect it read a little like Tim Severin s Viking trilogy just crammed into one book Severin has one Viking journeying to all the places associated with the Vikings history meeting most of the big players andenerally living the fullest life imaginable another excellent readguilty pleasure if you re one of the costumes and corset Ancient and Medieval Historical Fiction lilly livers elsewhere on Goodreads Maybe this is like that but on steroids having to pack it all into one book and all And it can feel a bit mechanical for that Like he had to check all the names and places of his list and he was damned if he wasn t Lectures on Buildings going toet them all in The stuff about a mystical talisman too I could have done without Never liked fantasy elements creeping in to what essentially wants to be read like a true story Takes it all on a bit of a seers and sages trip It s better when it has even its tenuous Land grip on reality But people of the time believed in all that and the One God to rule them all hadn t replaced the touching of wood to ask for the help of the spirit who lived in that wood still hasn t really has itSo itets a solid three stars from me However it ets a fourth star solely for mentioning on several occasions starting on page 385 the Bishop of Aarhus Why Well that s the town in Denmark where I now live Cool eh It is Scandinavian s oldest town I read today though in Viking times was called Aros However I haven t checked when the name changed so I can t call young Stewart B on it Not that anyone would know where a town called Aros washmmnot that namy people know where Aarhus is so much of a muchnessLeave your ego at the front cover and enjoy a ood romping read I for one will certainly be etting hold of the next in what I think is a trilogy These sort of things usually areOh yeah read the dedication at the start A very interesting uite possibly uniue sentiment I ve not come across its li. Of thousands have been spent including that of King Harold But England will not be conuered easily the Anglo Saxons will not submit meekly to Norman ruleAlthough his heroic deeds will nearly be lost to legend

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 He has won a BAFTA a Grierson an RTS and a Peabody for his documentaries Stewart'