A sweeping, densely plotted epic that will likely appeal to fans of historical fiction or George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice...

THE BANNERET'S BLADE

TROUBLE BREWING

A knight faces brutal challenges at home and abroad in de Rothschild’s historical-fiction debut.

Set in 1338, the novel centers on Sir Roger de Bohun, King Edward III’s one-time whipping boy, who’s now the “King’s Friend.” Roger has been handsomely rewarded for his years of loyalty: The king gave him a beautiful wife—Lady Alice, Queen Philippa’s lady-in-waiting—with whom he has two children, Harry and Isabel. He’s building an extravagant castle at Ipers Manor and has received a promotion to the prestigious rank of banneret. Roger’s successes, however, come during troubling times, as Edward makes a claim for the throne of France, complicating a number of political and religious intrigues. Closer to home, Lady Alice catches the eye of Sir Eustace de Frage, a man who will stop at nothing to claim her for himself. As tensions mount, Roger finds himself fighting for his king and his family. The author succeeds in creating a richly detailed setting and memorable characters. His descriptions of daily life in France and England, including the grand architecture of churches and castles, create a vivid picture of life during that era. Roger is a dynamic protagonist: a man of faith who’s loyal to his king, church and family but not immune to the charms of beautiful women. He’s met his match in Lady Alice, a passionate young woman who capably maintains the castle while he’s away. Eustace is a cunning villain whose ruthless desire for revenge drives some of the novel’s most effectively chilling scenes. The author’s vision is ambitious; as a result, the multitude of characters and subplots occasionally obscures the main protagonist’s story. The battle scenes are quite brutal, but de Rothschild reins them in before they become too gratuitous.

A sweeping, densely plotted epic that will likely appeal to fans of historical fiction or George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1499293661

Page Count: 490

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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