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The story dates back to fifteenth century England – the time of kings and monarchy.
A young child called Francis Cranley is abandoned by his mother after his father dies fighting for the House of York. Seeing his plight, and as a reward for the loyalty shown by his father to the king, the Duke of York himself takes him and brings him up alongside his own children. Cranley takes all his lessons here. He is smart, brave and trustworthy, and thus grows up as a brother or a very close friend to Richard of Gloucester, the youngest of the Yorkist offspring.
One fine December morning, a battered and worn out soldier arrives at the Middleham Castle. He is granted entry only with the intervention of the Duke himself, and asked about his purpose at the castle. The old soldier replied that he has wrongly been accused of murder and is now wanted by the king. He explains the whole incident and pleads for justice. He reminds the Duke that he had once saved his life when he was a boy, and now expects the favor to be returned.
The Duke agrees to help, but he himself cannot be seen helping a man who is wanted by his own brother, King Edward IV. So he sends his loyal friend Cranley on the mission to find out the truth. Now Cranley has to embark on a dangerous journey where he uncovers shady secrets and is pitted against powerful enemies painfully close to the throne.
The book is very exciting right from the beginning. The prologue especially got me hooked. I also liked the theme and the way the plot developed. The characters are all well defined. Another thing I noticed was the author’s ability to recreate a fifteenth century setting with the effective use of language. Though the language might seem a bit unconventional in the beginning, you get used to it very soon and start enjoying it. There were no significant punctuation or grammatical mistakes which in any way affected the reading experience.
But while the novel looked very promising in the beginning, there was little action in the middle chapters. It seemed to stick to just one idea, and lacked any unexpected twists or turns in these chapters which would have made the book even more exciting.
So overall I would rate it 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to all fiction lovers or anyone out there just looking for a good read.
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-- 20 Jul 2014, 11:44 --
its really an interesting book, one which can be reread and enjoyed again.