Book Review: Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures

Book Review: Sword Woman and Other Historical Adventures

When you think of Robert E. Howard, you are most likely to think of his most popular creation, Conan. Many of you will know his other creations like Solomon Kane, Bran Mac Morn, or Kull of Atlantis. Here we explore his stories based on historical events. From fighting off the Mongol hordes from the East to fighting off the Vikings in the West, Howard comes up with his own particular style to these events. Characters like Cormac Fitzgeoffrey who can be seen as a progenitor to Conan. Dark Agnes and Sonya of Rogatino, both strong warrior women who other creators would derive the popular character Red Sonja. Read of their exploits and more in this anthology of historical adventure pulps.

Dissolution is the first in a highly successful series of
novels by author C J Sansom, centring on the life of hunch-backed lawyer,
Matthew Shardlake.  It is set against the
backdrop of Henry VIII’s reign and the dissolution of England’s monasteries, as
Henry quarrels with Rome over his divorce of Catherine of Aragon. It is an
historical crime thriller which is superbly written and captures the attention
from start to finish, expertly interweaving the politics of the period with a
gripping murder mystery.

 

Shardlake finds himself
caught up in the shadowy world of Thomas Cromwell, despatched to a monastery on
the Sussex coast in the middle of winter to investigate the death of one of
Cromwell’s commissioners.  With the head
severed from the body, it is clear that foul play is afoot.  The monks are under suspicion, and
Shardlake’s leaning towards Reform magnifies his distrust and discomfort.  Will they protect their wealth and power at
any cost?  Who can he trust throughout
his investigation?  To complicate matters
even further, Shardlake himself was brought up in a Monastery and often
compares the modern day Scarnsea to the monastery of his youth and how the
times have changed.

 

If you have a passing
interest in the Tudor period of England, this book will draw you in
effortlessly.  As well as a riveting
storyline, Sansom peppers his prose with accurate depictions of medieval life
and creates a vibrant world without going over the top.  You don’t have to have prior knowledge of
this era to appreciate the landscape laid out before your eyes.

 

You will no doubt
feel disappointed when you reach the end of this book – but only because there
is no more left to read!  But fear not,
dear readers, for there are another four Shardlake novels to date with which to
quench your thirst for satisfying historical fiction.  The subsequent books in order are: Dark Fire,
Sovereign, Revelation, and Heartstone.

 

In summary, this book
is a must-read, whether you are a history buff or not.  If you finish this book and can resist
reading the others in the seriesFree Articles, there is something wrong with you!