THE VOW ON THE HERON by Jean Plaidy

THE VOW ON THE HERON

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

On--but not necessarily upward--with Plaidy's Plantagenets, viewed through streamlined fact and legend. This time it's Edward III (1312-77), whose claim to the French throne sets off Channel-crossing hostilities in the Hundred Years War. (When a disgruntled French count compares the timidity of a heron with that of King Edward, Plaidy has the King ""swear on this heron. . . that I shall give battle with the King of France be his forces twice the number of mine."") So Edward and his son (the Black Prince) have mighty victories at Crecy, Poitiers, Calais, etc.--though the King's not much of a character here. Better, as usual, are the Plaidy women--particularly Edward's beloved Queen Philippa of Hainault, whose goodness became the stuff of legend: she rescues innocents and brave men from the King's off-with-their-heads rages; she encourages a weaving industry in England. And she devotedly clucks over her many children--from the valiant Prince to the (soon-to-be-formidable) John of Gaunt; from little Joanna (married off at five in Austria, cruelly treated, finally dying on her way to marry Pedro the Cruel of Spain) to bright Margaret, illness-doomed Mary, and willful Isabella. And other engaging ladies include Edward's sister Joanna, married to horrid David II of Scotland (whose wavering fortunes test Joanna's courage, whose faithlessness finally drives her away) and the wily Fair Maid of Kent. . . whose indiscretion leads Edward to establish the Order of the Garter. It all ends with the deaths of Philippa and the Black Prince (who sires the future Richard II); there are bits about the Plague, resulting labor problems, Parliamentary changes, and threads of diplomatic efforts. But this is a minor installment--only somewhat redeemed by all those sighing, weeping ladies.

Pub Date: June 24th, 1982
Publisher: Putnam