Monday, March 16, 2015

Kings without a Kingdom and Disorderly Knights

#7 is The King Without a Kingdom by Maurice Druon. The final book of the Accursed Kings series, this is a departure from the others in that it's a first person narrative, and has skipped forward a decade to be right in the thick of the Hundred Years War. Crecy has already happened and Edward III is well established in France. The story is told from the POV of  Cardinal Perigord tells the story of King John II, second of the Valois monarchs, who is vain and cruel and a lousy king. His father was defeated horribly at Crecy, and John follows suit by getting his ass kicked by Edward the Black Prince at Poitiers. The narrative was took a bit of getting used to, as did there basically being no real 'characters' left from from the previous books. Frankly, The Lion and the Lily probably would've made a better ending to the series.

#8 is The Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett. Third of the Lymond Chronicles, we journey with Lymond to Malta, where he becomes embroiled with the fabled Knights of Malta, the Order of St. John. He arrives there just as Suleiman the Magnificent was making his push to expand the Ottoman Empire. Lymond meets the 'perfect' knight, Graham Reid Malett, who has decided to make it his mission in life to convert Lymond to the faith. Which goes about as well as you think it will. I liked this book, but almost in spite of itself it seems, because Dummett seemed to go out of her way to make Lymond thoroughly unlikeable. I mean, Lymond is often hard to like, but this time, we were talking about maybe despicable levels, especially when it came to Malett's ridiculously beautiful sister, Joleta. Of course, I knew that there was a reason for the horribleness, and Dunnett pulls it off quite well. Also, an ending that will lead neatly into the next book.