SHIELD OF HONOR by Alice W. Graham
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The story of Simon de Montfort and his struggle to establish the rights of the people of England against the tyranny of kings is one that never stales in the telling. But rarely have period and issues been brought so vividly to life as in this meticulously caparisoned novel built around one of Bimon's knights, hair of Astley and the fiefs that went with his heritage and grandfather of the Thomas de Astley of her earlier book. From Andrew's boyhood, when he conquered his bullying cousin and won the chance to serve as the great Earl's squire, through the checkered career, the brilliant successes and tragic defeats, to the ultimate downfall of the hopes for freedom at Evesham, the story is Andrew's as well as Simon de Montfort's. It is as well a holding romance of ill-fated love, as Sybil and Andrew are held apart by the jealousies, the aspirations, that divided England into two warring camps, and of the unshaken devotion that kept Andrew free, though Fate seemed to decree otherwise. There is evidence of deep scholarship here, not only in the minutiae, which gives one the sense of sharing a way of life in 13th century England, but in faithful exactitude to the known facts of the personalities, down to minor details of their servitors, and-where possible- to the recorded words of their speech and the tenor of their thoughts. It is a rich canvas, though at times the pace of story is slowed down by the minuteness of the record. A rewarding book, which does for this phase of England's story much of what Zoe Oldenbourg did in The World Is Not Enough for mediaeval France.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1957
Publisher: Doubleday