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

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,026 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The story of Llewelyn, first true Prince of Wales, is the history of medieval Wales in dramatic and epic form.

Llewelyn's burning vision is of one Wales, united against the threat of the English. But before he can achieve his dream, he must first tackle enemies nearer home. All three of his brothers hamper his efforts to create an independent state. The best-loved of the th

Paperback, 821 pages
Published June 14th 2001 by Headline Book Publishing (first published 1977)
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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...more
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...more
Lady of the Lake
Well..I am giving it four stars for the historical content..but it would be three stars for the way it has been put together.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
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...more
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 5 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
Apr 14, 2011 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
G Mcdaniel
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
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.
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
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...more
Stephen Loughin
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I have to admit, this one bored me to tears - after wading through 300 pages I gave up and skipped to the end to read it. Yes, there was eventually a happy ending, but you have to drag yourself through years and years of detailed political history and I just wasn't up for it. I do really love the main character Samson and appreciate his realistic morality.
I finally gave up on this one after getting almost half way through it. It's ponderously written, and with endless somewhat pointless dry passages. I love historical fiction, and this time period is fascinating, so I wanted to like this, but in the end decided to move on to something more enjoyable.
This is poetic and depressing (seriously, I bet EP created fictional characters just so someone likeable will survive this book). It covers the same ground as Sharon Kay Penman's The Reckoning (another brilliant and depressing book) but is a different enough take on it that I happen to love both.
Fascinating account of this period of Welsh history. I knew nothing about it before, and fell in love with many of the characters. I will probably read at least one other of Pargeter's books on this subject, to see what happens to Wales after this book ends. Good read!
Did not finish, I think the story line would hav eben great ut couldn't get pasthe style of writing. Looked like theauthor tried ot make it sound historical but it turned out to be stilted and hard to get through for me. At least for a novel read for pleasure.
Love this author. Had to have more after finishing the Brother Cafael series.
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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
More about Edith Pargeter...
A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury The Heaven Tree Trilogy The Heaven Tree (Heaven Tree, #1) The Green Branch (Heaven Tree, #2) Sunrise in the West (Brothers of Gwynedd, #1)

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