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The Brothers of Gwynedd (Brothers of Gwynedd #1-4)
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The Brothers of Gwynedd (Brothers of Gwynedd #1-4)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,328 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
An epic quartet of novels telling the dramatic tale of Llewelyn, the first true Prince of Wales.

Llewelyn has a burning vision: one Wales, united against the threat of the English. But, before he can realise his dream, Llewelyn must tackle enemies closer to home.

Llewelyn's three brothers all stand in the way of his ambition to create an independent state. The best-loved of
Paperback, 960 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 1977)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Well written and well researched but, just couldn't get into this book. I was familiar with the story of Llewellyn the last and his Eleanor from reading Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh trilogy (LOVED IT!!). This book, or rather these four books in one tell a similar tale as SKP's Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning, but I found this version to be a bit dry and dragged in many places.

Part of it may be from telling the story in the first person, thus limiting the story telling to what is observed by tha
Amy Bruno
Edith Pargeter's novel, The Brothers of Gwynedd is comprised of four stories: Sunrise in the West, The Dragon at Noonday, The Hounds of Sunset and Afterglow and Nightfall.

For this review we will be focusing on the first story: Sunrise in the West, which tells the story of Llewelyn ap Grruffyd (also called Llewelyn the Last) of Wales, grandson to Llewelyn the Great, through the eyes of his clerk, friend and closest confidante Samson. Samson is truly an invaluable narrator with his keen sense of
Lady of the Lake
Nov 06, 2008 Lady of the Lake rated it really liked it
Well..I am giving it four stars for the historical content..but it would be three stars for the way it has been put together. I think that if I had read this book BEFORE I was spoiled rotten by Sharon Kay Penman's welsh series I may have been able to enjoy this more. But knowing what can be done with these facts as in SKP trilogy I kept comparing and being disappointed. When I first started to read it did take me quite a while to get into the way this is written, the words didn't seem to flow fo ...more
Penny Linsenmayer
Apr 07, 2010 Penny Linsenmayer rated it it was amazing
This quartet of novels covers much of the same ground as Sharon Kay Penman's Welsh Trilogy (Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning). In looking at some of the amazon reviews, it seems that if you are a fan of Pargeter's work, you feel compelled to trivialize Penman. For my part, I enjoyed both these authors. Pargeter wrote these novels some decades ago, while Penman's work is somewhat more recent. I think Pargeter devoted more time to military battles and tactics than Penman. In gen ...more
Carla Nayland
Thoughtful and evocative quartet of novels telling the powerful story of Llewellyn ap Griffith, last prince of independent Wales, and his mercurial brother David.

Review of Sunrise in the West:
Review of The Dragon At Noonday:
Review of The Hounds of Sunset:
Review of Afterglow and Nightfall:
Alison Dellit
This was my principal reading throughout a recent trip to Wales, including a stay in Snowdonia, where much of the trilogy is set, and travels through the centre/north of Wales, where some of the key battles take place. Read against the background of this gorgeous, sparse and challenging country, the story of Llewellyn and David, and those who flocked with them to try to secure a Welsh kingdom, played and interplayed against the history and geography.

Pargeter's book is vastly different in style f
Oct 04, 2009 Babakathryn rated it it was amazing
My 2nd favorite books of all time (Les Mis #1). Same story as the Sharon Kay Penman books--historical fiction of Wales/England--but more detail, and better writing. Edith Pargeter (Ellis Peters), was English, received many awards for her writing and translating. My words don't do it justice---
Sep 21, 2007 Aimee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with an old soul
Shelves: eternalfavorites
This book told me so much about myself and the man I love, it was almost spooky in a completely honorable, truly dignified, romantic way. This is my favorite story of all time.
Blodeuedd Finland
This book consists of 4 books in one.

Book 1 Sunrise in The West
Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd, dreams of a Wales united against the English, but first he must combat enemies nearer home. Llewelyn and his brothers—Owen Goch, Rhodri, and David—vie for power among themselves and with the English king, Henry III. Despite the support of his beloved wife, Eleanor, Llewelyn finds himself trapped in a situation where the only solution could be his very downfall.

Book 2 The Dragon at Noonday

In this gripping
Oct 29, 2013 Carolyn rated it it was ok
I tried for over a month to read this. I got to page 84. Not even halfway through the first book.

The writing style is archaic, so it is a bit harder to get into. The idea being, I think, that we will lend more credence to the story, if it is written in a way that we presume someone from the period would write. Slightly more modern authors have gotten away from this (thankfully!) because it is much harder to get through. That is not to say this work is any less valid, only that it might turn some
Jun 08, 2010 Marie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
No rating on Book One, I couldn't finish it. Basically, it was a total snoooozer for me.

The story opens as Samson introduces himself to us, as he is the narrator of the story. He gives us details about his life and his relationships to the brothers of Gwynedd and who they are in relation to Wales. Although what seems to be a very dramatic story, the part about the brothers is slow going. The family chart is helpful because the elders were not fitting into the story properly through Samson's expl
Sep 02, 2012 Jane rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Once I started, I forced myself to read it through albeit in bits and pieces. With such fascinating material as Llywelyn ap Gruffydd of Wales and his defeat by King Edward of England, I had expected better and was very disappointed. The style was ponderous and turgid; the sentences convoluted, and there was much repetition. Of course, this was a tetralogy bound as one volume, so I guess repetition was inevitable, meant for those who might read ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Curtiss rated it really liked it
If you're into "Game of Thrones", try the "Brothers of Gwynedd" series by Edith Pargeter (who wrote the Brother Cadfael series of murder mysteries under the psuedonym Ellis Peters). It is a set of four historical novels set during the border wars between England and Wales in the mid 13th century, during the reigns of Henry III-Edward I and Llewelyn ap Griffith, the last true Prince of Wales.

It's a real-life Game of Thrones, albeit with a slower, more deliberate pace, but with plenty of betrayals
Apr 14, 2011 Rowan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of heavy historical fiction
Shelves: historical, fiction
This story chronicles the 13th century rise and fall of Prince Llewelyn of Gwynedd and his constant desire to create a whole and indivisible nation called Wales, as told by his life-long friend and scribe, Samson. I had a really hard time getting through this book for a number of reasons. The historical background is sound, so far as I can tell, and faithfully recounted, and the style in which it is told resembles that of a true medieval chronicle, but in many ways, the story of Llewelyn and of ...more
Jan 27, 2011 LeslieVA rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ralph James
Jan 17, 2015 Ralph James rated it it was amazing
I picked up this series because I'd exhausted the Cadfael's and finished Heaven Tree. I had heard it was difficult, but couldn't stand Pargeter withdrawal. It turned out to be my favorite of all her work. Knowing from the beginning that it was a tragedy didn't dampen my enchantment. My only comment now is that Prince Charles should pick another title. There's only one Prince of Wales for me.
G Mcdaniel
Jul 08, 2014 G Mcdaniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am very surprised how much I am enjoying this book. I am about 3/4 of the way through. It is written in a narrative style by Samson who is Llewelyn, Prince of Wales' trusted loyal friend and scribe. I normally don't care for that style of writing, but this is truly an exception. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. The author has a tremendous descriptive style that paints such a vivid picture, transporting me into the story. As mentioned by other reviewers, I too am a huge fan of Sha ...more
Van Le
Mar 30, 2014 Van Le rated it it was amazing
I'm a fan of Sharon Kay Penman, but this is a good version of the story told from the Wales point of view. The writing is superb, took a bit to get used to the style, but very nicely done. Could use more editing as some things didn't convert well from an older version. Saw quite a few Ring Henry instead of King Henry among other such errors.
Jul 24, 2010 Cheryl rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-edition
Phew -- this was a really dense historical series. I struggled between 3 or 4 stars. I was looking forward to this because while this is one of my favorite historical periods, what is written in historical fiction is typically from the English side of the story rather than the Welsh side and I wanted to know more about the Welsh side. This was obviously very well researched and Edith Pargeter did a really good job with the Samson, the narrator. The primary characters of Llewellyn and David ap Gr ...more
May 05, 2015 Elena rated it really liked it
This absorbing story sorts out the tangled mess of medieval Welsh politics in a way that is riveting and poignant. The history is well researched and presented in a clear way and the characters are vividly portrayed. This is a fascinating story about a complicated and dangerous time.
Oct 30, 2013 Aurelin rated it it was ok
It is really hard to rate this book, I think, by the end I got used to the dry style and well, it was less dry after the de Montforts showed up. However, I can't remember a book I read lately that I wanted to quit reading in the beginning as I did this. The first book is the most difficult, I could not connect to the characters yet but by the end I kind of did.
I really wanted to like his book and I did the author's Heavenly Tree series, but it took such a long while to get to a lukewarm liking t
Stephen Loughin
Jun 03, 2014 Stephen Loughin rated it it was amazing
Another historical fiction, but a classic. After you read it, you'll know from whence Ken Follett drew his inspiration (and more than a few plot points) for Pillars of the Earth.
Nov 01, 2014 Dot rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book (4 in 1). It has good character development & lots of interesting historical info. Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter books all good reads.
Jan 18, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in medieval history, and even if you know nothing of Wales or its history, these books are beautiful. Classic use of language can slow you down at first, but once you are into the story, you forget that as it fits the time and the character. There is good factual research of the Princes of Wales and some lovely pictures are painted with words as the story unfolds. The history/story itself is frustrating in many ways but that is true of all of history. My only "dislike" woul ...more
Margaret Sankey
Mar 20, 2013 Margaret Sankey rated it liked it
Before I ready this, I read Sharon Penman's treatment of the same period in Here be Dragons, Falls the Shadow and the Reckoning, which are exceptionally good at bringing to life the struggle of the Welsh princes against an expansionist and centralizing English crown under Henry III and Edward I (with a revolutionary interlude by Simon de Montfort), while keeping medieval people medieval in their social and religious beliefs. While the story is strong, Pargeter could never quite make her people f ...more
Baron French
Feb 10, 2015 Baron French rated it did not like it
I think, had I been able to actually struggle through the book, that it may have been good, but the language is so elaborate I had to constantly re-read sections.
Feb 26, 2015 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites
I have read this book about 4 times and I enjoy it every time.
Lynda Baker
Feb 12, 2015 Lynda Baker rated it it was amazing
Loved the book but preferred the Kindle version due to the size!
Jun 07, 2010 Brittney rated it really liked it
Welsh History and their conflicts with England. The characters in this book were so well developed that they feel real to me. I feel like I understand more realistically how it would've been for a king or noble person in medieval times. There was a bit too much history/list of ancestry for my interest and its told from a passive past perspective with tons of foreshadowing that I didn't always appreciate, but still a good read.
May 12, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
Four books in one covering the Welsh princes after Llewelyn the Great and the conquest of Wales by Edward. It's really long, but a great historical novel. Told through the eyes of Llewelyn (the Last)'s senechal, this book is well written with obvious thought to factual research. Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter is one of my favorite authors. This is a slight departure from the Cadfael series, but an excellent read.
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aka Peter Benedict, Jolyon Carr, Ellis Peters (later editions of her work are sometimes published under this pseudonym), and John Redfern

West Midlands Literary Heritage website biography

Novelist. Born September 1913 at Horsehay, Shropshire. Her father was a clerk at a local ironworks. Edith attended Dawley Church of England School and the Coalbrookdale High School for Girls. Through her mother, s
More about Edith Pargeter...

Other Books in the Series

Brothers of Gwynedd (5 books)
  • Sunrise in the West (Brothers of Gwynedd, #1)
  • The Dragon at Noonday (Brothers of Gwynedd, #2)
  • The Hounds of Sunset (Brothers of Gwynedd, #3)
  • Afterglow and Nightfall (Brothers of Gwynedd, #4)

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