Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Conqueror” as Want to Read:
The Conqueror
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Conqueror

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,157 ratings  ·  94 reviews
The true story of the bastard son who made himself a king and the woman who melted his heart. The stirring history of William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, who invaded England and became the King. His victory, concluded at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, is known as the Norman Conquest.

Known for her exhaustive research and ability to bring past eras to life, bestselling
Published March 1st 1985 by Bantam Books (first published 1931)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Conqueror, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Conqueror

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,046)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The Conqueror is one of six historical novels written by Georgette Heyer, who is best known for her Regency Romances, and if this is an indication of the other five - then sign me up!

Heyer brings us back to 11th Century Normandy and introduces us to William, Duke of Normandy, (a.k.a. William the Bastard) through the eyes of Raoul de Harcourt - a knight in Duke William's retinue.

Raoul began his service to the Duke as a young knight and he quickly rose to be one of William's most trusted friends.
Just arrived from Australia through BM.

I have no idea what Georgette Heyer had in her mind while writing this book. In my opinion, the plot is totally disconnected, there is a lack of link relating the main charters as well as the corresponding historical facts.
Undoubtedly there are much better books describing the Battle of Hastings.

Certainly this subject deserves better readings and some interesting research at Wikipedia and The Battle of Hastings-1066 which includes facts and full story.

All through his life men were to fear him and find it hard to meet the direct stare he bent upon them. Thus early the French were made aware of the ruthless strength of his will. The truth was he never swerved from his purpose, and would go to any lengths to achieve it.

History tells us that William of Normandy was born a bastard, held off multiple assassination attempts, became Duke of Normandy, repelled the French and invaded England to become it's King.

This is the same story that Georgette Hey
Rosemary Morris
I first read this novel many years ago and enjoyed it this time as much as I did the first time. The language is not dated and the tale of William the Conqueror and Raoul de Harcourt nicknamed The Watcher gripped me from beginning to end. Here is the drama of William's rough wooing of Matilda, of Harold Godwinson breaking his oath to accept William as king after Edward the Confessor's death. Of Raoul's friendship with a Saxon hostage and Raoul's love for the hostage's sister Elfrida. Whether or ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2* of five

If this had been my first Heyer, it would also have been my last. This novel was written in 1927, and reissued in 1966 when the 900th anniversary of the Norman Conquest was celebrated.

They shoulda left it on the shelf. It's boring.

I leave all issues of historical accuracy to the anal-compulsive yammerers who think fiction should obey the laws of fact, contenting myself only with the observation that there are a scant number of primary sources from 900-plus years ago, so just un
Raoul de Harcourt is an idealistic young man who wants to make the world, (or eleventh century Normandy at least), a better place. He joins the household of the young Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard and becomes one of his most trusted men. Ultimately he fights at the Battle of Hastings and watches as his lord is crowned King of England.

I can see why this book would not be a favourite for many Georgette Heyer readers. The setting is medieval as opposed to Georgian, the prose is not her best
K Rae
The Conqueror is a novel depicting the life of William "The Conqueror," Duke of Normandy, from birth until his coronation as King of England in 1066. While I normally love historical fiction (unable to put a book down), this novel had a hard time keeping me interested. There were sections that did have me wanting to shut out the world and keep reading, but there were just as many boring storylines that had me looking at my bookshelf longingly.

Well-researched and portrayed for the time period, I
The blurb on the book jacket suggests that this is a novel about William the Conqueror and his queen, Matilda. Although a small portion of the book deals with their tumultuous courtship and her role in his court, it is only a small portion. If you are looking for a romance along the lines of Georgette Heyer's Regency books, you may be disappointed. It is really, after all, a book about William, Duke of Normandy, a man of complex character and ruthless ambition, whose magnetism, self-confidence, ...more
Georgette Heyer's The Conqueror tells the story of the enigmatic William the Conqueror. Written in the mid-1930s, the Conqueror's language is a bit heavy handed at times. But it is clear that Heyer did a lot of research before writing the novel. A prolific romance novelist, the story was light on romance but heavy on the story of how the conquest of England came to be. Heyer's battle scenes are as well done as Sharon Kay Penman's - culminating in an intensely moving and passionately written acco ...more
I should actually put it on a shelf of half-read book. Could not finish it, since it turned out to be only a maze of conspiracies and wars, presented in very complex language of the era that made the reading weary.

This book is story of William the bastard, the Duke of Normandy (who used to sign as Bastardus' who became King of England after winning the battle of Hastings. Book features Raoul as his favorite and trusted man servant - I believe this was as much Raoul's story as it was William's. F
This would be a high 3 stars so I just went with a 4. What a fascinating read of William the Conqueror. I would have to say he was a force. I don't believe, and sure did not believe, that there was anything he could not do. Heyer has a nice style of story telling, although there were parts that read like a history book. But, what are you going to do, it is a historical fiction. I always like reading about English history and it is more fun to see how other countries perceived England. They were ...more
A history of William the Conqueror with an amazingly detailed description of the Battle of Hastings, this book brings 1028 to 1066 alive in all its horrors. In a time of struggle, betrayal, and death, fighting against all odds, William welds Normandy into one land, peaceful and prosperous at last, only to be betrayed by Harold who seizes the throne of England on King Edward's death, even though William is the heir proclaimed by Edward before his death and Harold has sworn to uphold William's cla ...more
Phil Syphe
Georgette Heyer’s “The Conqueror” is a lengthy work of fiction based on the real life of England’s William I, following his rise to fame in Normandy, through to his victory at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, culminating in his being crowned.

This novel is divided into five parts with a short prologue and an epilogue. Overall it proved a little too exhaustive for my tastes.

The first three parts have the occasional interesting or even entertaining moment, but mostly I felt bored by the mundane ton
Mandy Moody
Well, I read all the way to page 135 - Chapter 3 of book 2 - and that much was nearly torture.
I just could NOT get into this book. It's so dry, the writing is so cumbersome...
I found myself reading words and not really paying attention to the story.
I can't remember the last time I gave up on a book, but I couldn't keep reading this one.
Amy Denim
Well, this was my first Georgette Heyer, and I'd heard all about how she is the queen of Regency, but I thought I'd give one of her books that wasn't regency a chance. I sure thought there was going to be a lot more romance in it. I still learned a whole lot about William the Conqueror. I guess I'll try a regency next.
I nearly quit reading it several times. It was boring and there was too many battles.
The author writes in a style to represent the period, so it is told much like a medieval "Chanson". In modern parlance it is more of a 'bromance' - telling the tale of William the Conqueror mostly through the eyes of a young knight dedicated to his cause. Well researched and good character details. I loved the presentation of how William the Conqueror began using archers in battle in new ways - the author goes into detail on how his strategy worked. Ultimately he won the English crown because of ...more
"The Conqueror" reflects the true genius of this talented historical author. I have read nearly all of Georgette Heyer's books, and was particularly drawn to her Regency era novels, but I believe this historical depiction of William the Conqueror is her greatest masterpiece!

Let me re-phrase ... I was never interested in Medieval historicals, and never particularly drawn to that era in history either. Heyer's novels, however, drew me steadily back in time, century by century, until she involved m
This one takes a bit to get into. The writing on the prolog is really good and the story takes off. But once into chapter one, its skim worthy. I almost think the whole beardless youth part is kind of boring and could be skimmed.
My copy has a lot of character though, its from England and the pages are yellowing. It has so much character to it, that it makes me happy to have this book. I liked reading it just for that. Heyer's research is, of course, amazing and her details to the story are reall
Oct 28, 2009 Joyce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joyce by: my sister
Does this book have its flaws? Definitely! Parts of it are thick with narration and can prove heavy slogging at times. Some readers will enjoy all these details, but if you're a reader like me, this is how I would recommend you read this book:

Read the Prologue
Read "The Beardless Youth", especially for any parts that include Raoul de Hartcourt (feel free to skim the battle scenes if you want)
Read "The Rough Wooing", focusing on the "courting" of Matilda of Flanders by Duke William of Normandy, an
The story of William, Duke of Normandy better known as William the Conqueror Base born, the illegitimate son of Duke Robert of Normandy and his burgher mistress Herleva, he had a disturbed childhood and a stormy youth surviving the plots of his better born relatives and vassals and later the attacks of his feudal overlord, the King of France and greedy neighbours. As such the story is of one conflict after the other. The narrator is Raoul de Harcourt, friend of William, who provides background i ...more
Regan Walker
Good Historical Fiction - Not a Romance

Despite it's subtitle ("A Novel of William the Conqueror The Bastard Son Who Overpowered a Kingdom and the Woman who Melted His Heart"), there is very little in this novel that relates to the relationship between William and his wife Matilda. Though there is a chapter devoted to his determined "conquering" of her (including his beating of her when at first she refused to marry him), it's not a love story nor a romance. The story begins in 1028 with William'
Ana T.
Georgette Heyer is better known for her regency novels. However she did write some medievals including this biography of William, The Conqueror.

Base-born son of Richard, Duke of Normandy, William the Bastard had to fight for his crumbling heritage, then to subjugate in battle his feudal lord, the King of France.

Spurned in love he horse-whipped the lovely Princess Matilda, then made her his bride.

Thwarted by the Saxon Earl Harold of a solemn promise of the throne of England, he sailed with his ar
Why did I read this book right after swearing that it would be years before I read another Georgette Heyer book? I have no answer for that. I guess I thought that it would be interesting to read about William the Conqueror when traveling to England and it was nice and thick so I didn't have to worry that I'd finish it and have nothing to read on my trip there. Unfortunately William spent most of his time in Normandy and only the last 30 pages in England and it was so thick that I was still limpi ...more
Donna Hatch
It was extremely well researched! I learned a lot I didn't know about that time in history. William was brilliant and ruthless, much more so than I realized.

I was expecting more of a romance based on the tag line on the front cover, so I was disappointed that there wasn't much romance to speak of. It also read, at times, like a history book, and I felt very distanced from the characters--but that was the kind of books written in that time. And the language was so archaic, it was difficult to fo
What is with this cover art?? It totally misrepresents a book that is thoroughly gripping to read, relatively historically accurate, and actually pretty gruesome.

Just to make it clear, there are no harem pants and crop tops to be found here.

Meanwhile, another reviewer totally pegged this accurately as a "bromance," not a romance as the cover implies.

No lie, though, but between the political intrigue and the machinations of medieval warfare, it was downright touching in places!

Ah, and thankfull

This was a challenge to read. The formatting and language was dated and I found myself often getting distracted and re-reading paragraphs or just setting it down mid-chapter for a break. That being said I really liked the book. It was definitely slow at times and rife with the sort of gross sexism someone might expect from a Regency romance author from the1920's.

I was surprised that there wasn't more story-time for Matilda, William I's wife, even in the chapters that dealt with his proposal, i
Let me just say I am a huge Georgette Heyer fan. I am not a big war/battle reader though, and my lack of interest in the subject matter ultimately put this one back on the shelf. If you are interested William the Conqueror, war strategy, and/or the Middle Ages then this book may appeal to you. I, however, learned that I most decidedly am not. From here on out I will steer clear of Heyer's pre-Georgian era writings.
The blurb touts this as a romance and that seems designed to make this novel appeal to Ms. Heyer's romance readers. There is a section dedicated to the wooing of Matilda, but it is not romance and should not be treated as such. This is well done historical fiction. Ms. Heyer does an excellent job with the character. She paints a very human picture of William the Conqueror, he did amazing things, made mistakes and suffered for them. I knew nothing about him before reading this and now feel like I ...more
Georgette Heyer was recommended to me from another book nerd friend. I've read mostly her Regency era chic lit, but enjoyed this more historical novel detailing the rise of William the Conqueror.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Wife to the Bastard
  • The Running Vixen
  • The Marriage of Meggotta
  • Bond of Blood
  • The Private World of Georgette Heyer
  • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens
  • I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince
  • The Lute Player
  • The Bastard King (Norman Trilogy, #1)
  • A Winter Ballad
  • The King Must Die (The Isabella Books, #2)
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Reluctant Queen
  • Hugh and Bess: A Love Story
  • The King's Grey Mare
Georgette Heyer was a prolific historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth.

In 1925 she married George Ronald Rougier, a mining engineer, and he often provided basic plot outlines for her thrillers. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year.

More about Georgette Heyer...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »