Sunday, December 31, 2017

Author - Antonia Senior

When the book "Tyrant's Shadow" by Antonia Senior came up in my email feed, I confess I was curious. The English Civil War period (1640s) was not really my "go to" area of study. True, I did know a bit about the times, but it was a period I couldn't say I truly immersed myself in.

English Civil Wars - the short version (courtesy of wikipedia):
The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists ("Cavaliers") over, principally, the manner of England's government. The overall outcome of the war was threefold: the trial and execution of Charles I (1649); the exile of his son, Charles II (1651); and the replacement of English monarchy with, at first, the Commonwealth of England (1649–1653) and then the Protectorate under the personal rule of Oliver Cromwell (1653–1658) and subsequently his son Richard (1658–1659). 

And, really, the only book I had read recently on the subject was "The King's Smuggler" by John Fox (review here @ Melisende's Library).

So to the books at hand:
Treason's Daughter:
London, 1640. Fifteen-year-old Henrietta Challoner dreams of adventure, of a life lived at the gallop, of the opportunities afforded to her brothers, Ned and Sam. She cannot know how devastatingly real these dreams will become, as the country slides towards vicious civil war...

The crisis threatens to tear Henrietta's family apart. As religious and political tensions spill into the streets, they all must decide what comes first - their family, their country or their desires. But while she strives to maintain the peace at home, Henrietta becomes embroiled in a deeper plot: to hand London over to the King.

The Tyrant's Shadow:
England, 1652: since Charles I's execution the land has remained untethered, the people longing for change. When Patience Johnson meets preacher Sidrach Simmonds, she believes her destiny is to become his wife and help him spread the Lord's word. Simmonds sees things quite differently.

Patience's brother Will has been bestowed the job of lawyer to Oliver Cromwell. Tasked with aiding England's most powerful man, he must try to overcome his grief after the loss of his wife. Then Sam Challoner, Will's brother-in-law, returns unannounced after years in exile, forcing Will and Patience to question their loyalties: one to a ruler, the other, a spouse. Who do they choose to save? Themselves, their loved ones or their country...
read more here @ Historia Magazine

However, after a bit more digging, I discovered Antonio had also written a book on Somerled, King of the Isles. Having read Nigel Tranter's 1983 fictional account "Lord of the Isles" and John Marsden's "Somerled - And the Emergence of Gaelic Scotland", I am quite looking forward to reading this account of a fascinating "real-life" character.

The Winter Isles:
In twelfth-century Scotland, far removed from the courtly manners of the Lowland, the Winter Isles are riven by vicious warfare, plots and battles.

Into this hard, seafaring life is born a boy called Somerled. The son of an ageing chieftain, Somerled must prove his own worth as a warrior. He will rise to lead his men into battle and claim the title of Lord of the Isles - but what must he sacrifice to secure the glory of his name?

The Winter Isles is an astonishingly vivid recreation of the savage dynastic battles of medieval Scotland: an authentic, emotional, powerful read.

read interview with Antonia Senior @ Historia Magazine

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