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

The Black Rose

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 Ratings  ·  95 Reviews
An adventure book as well as a love story. Set in England at the time of Edward the first. It takes three interesting men in history, Edward the First of England, a Mongolian general known as Bayan of the Hundred Eyes and Roger Bacon and puts them in one book along with an old legend from old English histories. It all makes for a fantastic story. It takes you from England ...more
Hardback, 403 pages
Published 1945 by Doubleday/ BCA
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 Black Rose, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Black Rose

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Kathleen Garlock
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so lame.

I loved this book as a teenager. When I was young, there were two choices for young girls in historical fiction: books written in the 1950's and bodice rippers. When I was in high school I picked the former. After I graduated, well let's just say I graduated.

I read every book by Thomas Costain that I could get my hands on. Some of them were....meh. This one I loved. I read it over and over again. And I cried every time I came to the part where Maryam is crying out: "Walter. London.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take a deep dive into the heart of centuries old Great Britain, where your name and lineage are a matter of the deepest importance and there is no middle faction between the wealthy and the poor. The main character of this story travels from the old world of Great Britain, where he is mocked and labeled a bastard son of a wealthy and titled Lord, to the magical and mystical far east, where he is able to earn his worth as a man and experience the strange and unfamiliar ways of lands not even mapp ...more
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please don't tell me that you've seen the movie and because it sucked, you're not going to read the book. The book is WAY better than the movie. Superlatives all around, please. Set in 1272, it tells the story of Walter of Gurnie and his trip to the Orient. Romance, action, comedy--but best of all, the writing is top notch. A timeless classic.
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Costain takes the reader on a 13th century journey from England to China. The book's main character, Walter inherits a large sum of money in London and sets off to China inspired by Francis Bacon. Costain expertly depicts the area between Europe and China, especially the Bedouin tribes. In addition to the journey, Walter loves two women, one a noble and beautiful English woman and the other, a beautiful and beguiling woman Walter meets on his journey.

Unfortunately, it seems that Thomas Co
Pat Murphy
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great story. It is another one of those "old" books I read from time to time. It was written by thomas Costain in about 1945. The tale takes place in England and roams all the way to Cathay which is China or Mongolia or thereabout. The time in history is post Crusades. It has a great love story, chivalry and honor, wealth and poverty, different cultures, and a point of view which describes our Western culture as far as who we think is a superior race. I read some reviews before I start ...more
Oct 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this book multiple times. It's a refreshing novel, published in 1945, and written by the author of "In His Steps" (What would Jesus do? originates here, for the uninitiated - another great novel). Costain portrays this remarkable period of the Dark Ages by framing his plot with three great men - Edward the First of England, the father of parliamentary rule; Bayan of the Hundred Eyes, the brilliant general of Kublai Khan who conquered the whole of China in a series of daring and aggress ...more
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-challenge
I really liked this book. I liked the characters and the story. So why am I giving it only 3 stars? It lacked specialness, vital spark, anything that touched me in a way all readers hoped to be touched when they read. I felt no passion for the characters even though I liked them and they were well drawn. I never once sat at the edge of my seat biting my nails wondering what might happen next. I never sat up late at night reading because I just could not put the book down. I never loathed a chara ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I bought because it looked good; it's one of the first editions, although what printing I have no idea. The cover is simply black with gold lettering, the pages uneven and yellowed. It's a beautiful book, and it has that Old Book Smell that I so much love.

I picked it up because I had run out of things to read; it's what I do on my lunch at work, and I decided that hey, I'd see what it was like, at least until I found something else to read. And lo and behold, I liked i
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across my edition of ‘The Black Rose’ long after the book was written and long after the movie, but I still consider it a keeper. I thoroughly detested the dry method of learning about past events in World History class, but this book made history come alive for me as I envisioned exploration in faraway lands. The story has a nice blend of adventure, history, and love as the fate of Walter of Gurney, his friend Tristram, and the exotic Maryam gradually unfolds whilst learning about the pr ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was wonderful tale brimming with adventure and romance. I was immediately drawn to the main character Walter and my opinion of him only grew fonder. The storyline keeps us journeying all over the globe as Walter and his friend set out to the East to find treasures and knowledge to better their positions back home in England. On this arduous journey, he grows from a young school boy into a man, he finds treasures he never imagined, and he gains wisdom and clarity. This story is a masterpiece ...more
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book in my grandparents library last month. I hadn't the slightest clue what it was about, but my boredom provoked me to pick a random book from the self. I started reading it and fell in love with it by page 20. It reminded me a lot of "Around the World in 80 days" so if your into adventure books about distant lands, love, and tea-lovin Brits who storm castles, It should be a book for you!
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dude-thrillers
Compared to books such as these, all others seem to fall short. Such a masterpiece, written as no others are in this day and age.

This book is an antique (out of print) and I am so glad I was able to read it when I did -- many decades ago. I bought two copies at used books stores, and will never let go of them.

The 1950 movie, with Tyrone Power and Orson Welles, did not do it justice; fair attempt.
May 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The principles taught in this work cross into so many different topics of discussion that it's not possible to even start in a review. Suffice it to say that I'm really surprised I've never heard of this gem. It's a fantastic adventure of a nobleman (almost) and his commoner friend in the 1200s and their journey across the Silk Road to China - amazing. Wonderful. Read it!
Despite all favorable reviews, I didn't really enjoy so much this romantic novel written by Thomas Costain.

The characters didn't are so interesting and the plot didn't keep my full attention while reading this book.

Sorry guys but I think TBC wrote better books than this one.
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a teenager and had such fond memories of it that I looked it up and re-read it. Let's just say that my tastes have matured. I enjoyed the reread, but the story lacked the romanticism and excitement my teenage memory remembered.
Jimmy Lee
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Black Rose" was the basis for the movie of the same name, starring Orson Wells (as Bayan of a thousand eyes), Tyrone Power (Walter of Gurnie) and Jack Hawkins (as Tristam) - in theory a follow up to the movie "Prince of Foxes." There are significant differences between the film and the book in the story line, in part I'm sure due to complexity of the story you find in the book.

Which is to say, the book is very interesting. Set in the time of Edward I, you have the shame of bastardy, uprisin
Trisha Owens
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful book! Romance, adventure and great writing skills! An old classic published in 1945.
Historical novel that starts in England and is set during the time after the Crusades. One Walter of Gurnie, a young, but bastard son, of the Earl of Lessford has an idea to travel to the Orient and find out about the riches in the East. He meets Kublai Khan, Bayan of the Hundred Eyes, and also falls in love with Maryam, daughter of an English crusader and a Grecian Mom. But, he has left behind
Greg Bidwell
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The story moves from a University setting to the Orient and I enjoyed the main characters adventures and an enjoyable romance. Life as a bastard grandson to a entrepreneurial noble gives way to survival in a Mongol caravan, which in turn gives way to life in a Chinese city about to be invaded. I was swept along by the narrative, and never considered dropping the book.
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A fun kickoff-the-summer read, full of old-timey swashbuckling adventure and romance. I love the Costain History of the Plantagenets series, and although this wasn't quite as good, it was a fun peek into post-Conquest medieval England. My only pique is that I wish it had a sequel.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historcial
A Favorite. Historical fiction of the best. Some romance, well researched history. All Costain books are very good.
Sirpa Grierson
When my Father died in 1991, he left behind a stash of Thomas B Costain novels. Even as a young girl, I remember looking at these books which always appealed to me because of their titles. This 1946 bestseller about Walter a Gurney, a young bastard son of a noble is a fascinating look back into English history in the 1200s. Costain draws on a legend of an English crusader who becomes the father of Thomas a Beckett, and an Eastern girl who only knows two words of English. Costain began the book w ...more
Jul 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alicia by: Valerie B.
This book and author were highly recommended to me as great historical fiction. This was a good adventure of a young English noble in the 1300’s who headed to the east to make his fortune. My favorite medieval historical fiction works are still The Cloister and the Hearth and The Betrothed, but The Black Rose was an enjoyable read. I may eventually try reading The Silver Chalice by this same author, which has also been highly recommended.


“When wind of opportunity does not blow, find a big
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
Oh brilliant! I have a great fondness for pure romantic adventure such as Dumas and Sabatini wrote. I am shocked I did not hear of this book until now as this is pure adventure. In the late 13th century the bastard son of an English nobleman and his yeoman pal venture to the east to reach "Cathay" (China) to find their fortune get caught up in a Mongol invasion and (one character at least) find true love. But what happens to that love when she is lost and he comes face to face with his childhood ...more
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is no longer in print, but my mom kept talking about how much she and my grandmother loved it, so I found a used copy and gave it to her for Christmas, then she let me borrow it back. This book took me an entire month to get through. It was written in the 1940s but the setting is in the 1300s. It is a very epic story of a young man from England who travels to China to discover many of the wonders and inventions (paper, cannons, etc.)that the English had never even dreamed of. There is ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivy by: Michael Stracener
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susie by:
Thomas B. Costain is one of my favourite authors. He researches for his sources and does excellent work on the history for which he is writing in his novels. This is no exception. This book is one in which a young man and his friend find themselves traveling across Asia in the Middle Ages in the most desperate of times. They meet up with a most beautiful young woman who is called The Black Rose and is about to be a slave and whom they help save. On their journeys they encounter many adventures f ...more
Rex Libris
This book had been sitting around my mother's house long before I was born, and I decided a long time ago I needed to read it. Now I have.

It was in many ways a good story. Two young 12th Century Englishmen journey to China. Along the way they get recruited into the Mongol army. To hide her from a sad fate and evil relatives, the protagonist marries a young woman along the way. They get separated, and she has to make her way from China to England to find him.

The travels and other portions of the
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mister Jones
Dec 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mister Jones by: Got it for 10 cents at a yard sale
I was really enjoying this one from the very beginning, and it was filled with great literary promise: in the dark Middle Ages, two young men from England on a journey to China by way of the Mid-East. By the middle of the novel I started losing interest--the writing at that point was flat, and the plot itself had reached a snail's pace; I just didn't have the patience to ride it out. On a positive note, I think I'm developing a kindred spirit with my students: a short attention span.

Julia Carpenter
I am also one of those who read and loved Thomas Costain's novels when I was young. Re-reading it, I still enjoyed it, especially the historical aspect. But for literary merit, it falls short of something like Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, although perhaps it's unfair to compare "popular" fiction of the 40s and 50s with contemporary "literary" fiction. It lacks subtlety, but it's nevertheless a good romp through a time and place, actually several places, with a likeable main character.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Scarlet Letter & the House of the Seven Gables
  • The Wake of the Dragon: A Steampunk Adventure
  • The Rope Dancer
  • Theirs Was the Kingdom (Swann Saga, #2)
  • The Foxes of Harrow (Delta Diamond Library)
  • The Price of the King's Peace (Robert the Bruce, #3)
  • Prince of Foxes
  • Drums Along the Mohawk
  • Arundel
  • The Earth Is the Lord's
  • Dragon's Lair (Justin de Quincy, #3)
  • Teot's War (The Song of Naga Teot, #1)
Costain was born in Brantford, Ontario to John Herbert Costain and Mary Schultz. He attended high school there at the Brantford Collegiate Institute. Before graduating from high school he had written four novels, one of which was a 70,000 word romance about Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. These early novels were rejected by publishers.

His first writing success came in 1902 when the Brantford
More about Thomas B. Costain...

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »