Sunday, April 1, 2018

Review: Of Relics & Romance by Evan Ostryzniuk

Of Relics and Romance: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Truce of Leulinghem (English Free Company #3)
The prequel to "Of Faith & Fidelity" and "Of Fathers & Sons", this is the beginning of the tale of Geoffrey Hotspur (also titled Geoffrey Hotspur and the Truce of Leulingheim).

We begin in France, June 1389, where 15yo Geoffrey is a page and ward of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, as well as Keeper of the Relic (the finger of St Bernard of Clairvaux). It is the time of troubles - the Hundred Years' War is raging throughout France; England was on the brink of financial ruin as a result, and Charles of France was a mad as a hatter. After years of failed negotiations, somehow a new concord was achieved and Leulingheum was the site of the epic meeting.

Into this tense mix of political maneuvering, scuttlebutt, bitter rivalries and petty jealousies, John of Gaunt tasks Geoffrey to seek out a spy within his own household whilst he sits upon a tribunal to decide the veracity of his relic.

The Truce of Leulinghem did take place, on 18th July 1389 - Richard II of England and Charles V of France agreed to launch a joint crusade against the Turks, Richard married Charles' daughter and agreed to leave French soil (except Calais) - and the truce held, until Henry of Bolingbroke seized the throne in 1399.

It was an interesting and easy read (I would be half-tempted to pigeon-hole this as young adult fiction) and look forward to the next installments in Geoffrey's quest to become a knight and go on crusade.

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