I’ve become a close friend of Kit and Adam de Guirande over the run of this series and enjoy seeing the world at court through their eyes. They bring distance to the events of 1327 in some ways while being fully involved in others. It’s a winning formula that allows excellent prespective to all political and historical events depicted.
The imprisonment of Edward II and the crowning of a very young Edward III provide the setting for this story. The issue of the Scottish, of Mortimer’s interference and the tensions in the entire Kingdom provide the outer framework.
Gifted author Anna Belfrage weaves in the characters with their great personalities, paints the picture with excellent descriptive details and shows the tragedy and human element in all that happens.
Anna Belfrage knows her subject in and out and reading her historical notes at the end is always informative.
Having watched “Edward II”, the film by Derek Jarman several times, I have a particular fondness for his story and that of his successor. Queen Isabelle and Mortimer are great characters whom you will love to hate. I’m pleased to learn that this saga will continue with yet another book. I can’t wait.
As a different reviewer put it:
“The author has once again given us a beautifully written story which is firmly ensconced in the early fourteenth century. From baronial manor houses to royal palaces, there is a real feeling of authenticity, so much so, you can sense the danger, feel the intrigue and experience all the sights and sounds of medieval life. No historical stone is left unturned and no aspect of medieval life is ignored or glossed over.”
Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II has been forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over… After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster. In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much. When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers. Under the Approaching Dark is the third in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. Instead, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time-slip series The Graham Saga, winner of multiple awards, including the HNS Indie Award 2015.
Her new series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, is set in the 1320s and features Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures during Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The third book, Under the Approaching Dark, was published in April of 2017, and the final instalment will be published early 2018.