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The Conqueror
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Group Reads > The Conqueror Group Read Oct 2016 Prologue - Part 3.

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message 1: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (last edited Oct 01, 2016 11:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4238 comments Mod
Hi Sorry I'm a bit late!

Yes this book is in parts not chapters. I'm not planning to have a spoilers thread as although my aging memory recalls there being a fictional character this is history, so how can we spoil it? I would ask that we only discuss the events covered up to & including Part 3 in this thread though.

I haven't read this book in over 30 years. I've probably read it 8 times in total. It is my favourite out of her straight historicals (since for me An Infamous Army is more a historical romance)

This time I have an Arrow The Conqueror by Georgette Heyer

So how many times have you read this book? & what format are you using this time?


message 2: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments It' s so long since I read this book that I have practically no memories of it. Guess I should read it long with the rest of you!


message 3: by Sheila (in LA) (new)

Sheila (in LA) (sheila_in_la) | 346 comments This is my first time reading The Conqueror. I got my copy from the LA Public Library (Heinemann). Looking forward to the discussion!


message 4: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Re spoilers, even though The Conqueror is history, I think we should be careful about mentioning things in sections we're not scheduled to read yet. Every novel I've read on this subject (four, I think) has had its own spin on the recorded facts, and those who haven't already read this one or have read it but don't remember it might be glad to see it unfold as it goes along.


message 5: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1317 comments Not sure whether I’ll have time to read along this month, but I’ll try. Have never read it before! {blushes} My edition is a Bantam paperback from 1974, with a cover that looks as if it was done by an illustrator of fantasy novels:
The Conqueror


message 6: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments I think my copy must be fifty years old--published in 1966!


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4238 comments Mod
MaryC wrote: "I think my copy must be fifty years old--published in 1966!"

Hahahahaha!


message 8: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments I'm reading the same copy as you Carole. I've never read it before either and was a bit daunted about it so kept putting it off. Wow am I there now though. The first part, the Prologue, pulled me right in! The descriptions of the market place were amazing! She sure could write.


message 9: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments I have never read this one before and am reading the Kindle version.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4238 comments Mod
Teresa wrote: "I'm reading the same copy as you Carole. I've never read it before either and was a bit daunted about it so kept putting it off. Wow am I there now though. The first part, the Prologue, pulled me r..."

I'mat the end of Part 2 now & the story is so vivid. I'm also liking the fictional (I think) character of Rauol.


message 11: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 02, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments I'm just starting Part 1, chapter 3, and loving how much of a gripping historical mystery vibe I'm getting - my favorite genre, yay! (Although I could do without the brutal hunting scenes - ugh...) Heyer does a great job of bringing to life how "nasty, brutish and short" life was.


message 12: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments Yeh the bear baiting kinda got to me a bit and I was eating at the time as well. Not a good combination!!


message 13: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 02, 2016 11:09AM) (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprised by the superstition, brutality, prejudice, dirt and blood, but there are still passages that gobsmack me... I always come away with a deep appreciation that I was lucky enough to be born in modern times, and am stupefied when I hear certain conservative elements (especially at election time, which lasts for eons) pining for "the good old days" - that tells me people don't know their history, recent or otherwise!


message 14: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 479 comments Susan, remember a song with the refrain "These are the good old days"?


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4238 comments Mod
& I have finished this section.

I love Raoul & how GH portrays his loyalty to William & friendship with his peers.

I'm really intrigued by the oaths (God's destiny, God's death & so on) & the descriptions of food. I couldn't identify any of the foods & I'm going to have a hunt around the internet tomorrow.


message 16: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments MaryC wrote: "Susan, remember a song with the refrain "These are the good old days"?"

LOL!


message 17: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ wrote: "& I have finished this section.

I love Raoul & how GH portrays his loyalty to William & friendship with his peers.

I'm really intrigued by the oaths (God's destiny, God's death & so on) & the de..."

I know, I want to start using those oaths! My favorite is By the face! Can you see it, Checking out produce at the market: "by the face these are fine oranges!" We could start a trend!


message 18: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 1317 comments I love to use Heyer oaths! My favorite from her Regencies is “The devil fly away with __________.”


message 19: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments I had to take a break after the last round of violence in the book!! Maybe I'm over squeamish but I HATE reading anything like that. Having a little relax with a Sarah Price novel.


Louise Culmer Susan in NC wrote: "Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprised by the superstition, brutality, prejudice, dirt and b..."

writers often exaggerate about how dirty medieval times were. people washed a lot more than is sometimes imagined, and there were regulations about street cleaning, waste disposal etc.


Louise Culmer The prologue was quite fun, but part 1 was a bit of a bore, all those tiresome battles etc. i hope part 2 is going to be a bit more interesting.


message 22: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments I'm struggling here Louise. Have to force myself to read it. Started off great but there's too many people in it. I can't keep up.


Louise Culmer part 2 was okay in parts, though a lot of purple prose. i was surprised there wqs no mention of brihtric, the englishman matilda was supposed to have been in love with who spurned her advances. I thought that would have made it more interesting.


message 24: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 04, 2016 08:06AM) (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Louise wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprised by the superstition, brutality, p..."

Really? All the history I've read indicated many thought bathing too often actually endangered health - and I'd never heard of street cleaning and waste disposal in medieval England. I've heard of "the Great Stink" in Victorian times when parliament actually had to close down because of the fug coming off the Thames! And I've always read the plague was spread by generally tight, squalid living conditions throughout medieval times - and of course no germ theory - I would think if people washed more regularly disease wouldn't have spread so rapidly and devastatingly. Could you pass on any titles on the subject? I'd love to know what the living conditions were really like if historical fiction writers aren't telling it straight! Sorry if that sounds gross, but historical fiction and mysteries are my favorite genre and I read a lot of history in college, I'd love to learn more. Thanks, Louise!


message 25: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Teresa wrote: "I'm struggling here Louise. Have to force myself to read it. Started off great but there's too many people in it. I can't keep up."

The gore and brutality are pretty much in keeping with other history I've read, but yes the parade of titles and noble characters is making my head spin! I'm trying to focus on the immediate posse right around William and keep all of them straight - and then Heyer brings in the Saxons! I would think it's easier for all of our British and Commonwealth members to keep at least the English cast straight, you learn about them in school, right? Like our founding fathers!


message 26: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 04, 2016 08:25AM) (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Louise wrote: "part 2 was okay in parts, though a lot of purple prose. i was surprised there wqs no mention of brihtric, the englishman matilda was supposed to have been in love with who spurned her advances. I t..."

I'm into part two, and am finding it pretty interesting - but you summed it up perfectly, purple prose! It was pretty abrupt, the change from on a ship with our Saxon "guests" and next thing you know, horny William is off to Flanders! Sorry, but it was funny how Heyer wrote him as a ordinary, torqued up young man wanting a girlfriend- it felt very familiar, like I was in the room with my college-aged son and his friends.

Then William gets to Flanders and acts like a predatory stalker - as he admits, he certainly doesn't know anything about women...and all the burning and ice and yearning to wrap his hands around his beloved and crack her in half if he wills it - I felt like I suddenly stepped into a lurid 1970s Harlequin novel (Mills and Boon to the rest of the world, I believe)!


Louise Culmer Susan in NC wrote: "Louise wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprised by the superstitio..."

the notion that bathing was unhealthy came about in tudor times. medieval people were quite keen on bathing, there are a lot of illustrations of people bathing in medieval art. bath houses were popular in many medieval towns. the wealthy of course would have bathed more often, they had servants to heat up the water, fill and empty the baths etc.

the 'great stink' ' in victorian times came about because of the invention of flushing toilets, sewage pipes were leading directly into the Thames. Rivers in medieval and early modern times were much cleaner than they became later. A visitor to london in Elizabethan times for instance described the thames as a 'crystal stream'.

'daily Life in the Middle Ages' by paul B. Newman is a good book if you want to know about medieval hygiene, there is a whole chapter on cleaning. 'life in a Medieval City' 'life in a medieval castle' and 'Life in a Medieval Village' by Frances and Joseph Gies are really interesting for finding out about daily life.


message 28: by Susan in NC (last edited Oct 04, 2016 08:57AM) (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Thank you, I figured the Victorian filth in London could've been from all the people streaming in from the country as a result of the Industrial Revolution, hence the crowded living conditions and squalor. I have read a lot of historical fiction and mysteries set in medieval times in Europe and Britain, and it seemed as if Europeans bathed more than the English - I've been reading Caroline Roe's Isaac of Girona series, and they mention public bath houses but that's set in Spain. I knew there were Roman baths in Bath, but I'd never come across mention of medieval public bath houses in England. I like to know the facts, so thanks for the titles.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4238 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "part 2 was okay in parts, though a lot of purple prose. i was surprised there wqs no mention of brihtric, the englishman matilda was supposed to have been in love with who spurned her advances. I t..."

True!


message 30: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments I'm half way through part 2 and finding it easier to read. But 'Bowels of God' it's tough going. (Couldn't resist that one) :)


message 31: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments Susan in NC wrote: "Louise wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprised by the superstitio..."

Susan a good book is The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer.


message 32: by Sheila (in LA) (new)

Sheila (in LA) (sheila_in_la) | 346 comments I had to switch to something completely different last night before going to bed. Kind of enjoying it --though there are lots of names and so far not many memorable characters. I hope that changes.


message 33: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Teresa wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Louise wrote: "Susan in NC wrote: "Oh my gosh, me too! Kind of soured lunch a bit, to be honest...I've read so many historical mysteries and fiction that I shouldn't be surprise..."

Thank you, I'll see if I can find it. I like to think my favorite historical mystery and fiction writers know their stuff, but never hurts to dig around myself!


message 34: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Teresa wrote: "I'm half way through part 2 and finding it easier to read. But 'Bowels of God' it's tough going. (Couldn't resist that one) :)"

Oh, another winner! "These are fine apples, by the bowels of God!" I like it.


Louise Culmer halfway through now. it is so boring. all battles and men having conversations about battles.


message 36: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Louise wrote: "halfway through now. it is so boring. all battles and men having conversations about battles."

Nuts...is William still burning for the Ice Princess at least?


Louise Culmer Susan in NC wrote: "Louise wrote: "halfway through now. it is so boring. all battles and men having conversations about battles."

Nuts...is William still burning for the Ice Princess at least?"


She's busy hAving babies now (they seem to have had ten children) and he's thinking about his next conquest.


message 38: by Elza (last edited Oct 10, 2016 05:38AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments Back in the day, I read all the historicals -- even made an attempt at My Lord John but couldn't get through it -- so I have read this one before. I remembered liking one of them more than the others and thought it was The Conqueror. Now, I'm not sure if it was this or Simon the Coldheart.

Anyway, I said all that to say that, this is only my second read and it's been decades since the first! I have a fairly recent trade paperback from the library so not having to struggle with small print, thank goodness.

Agreed, there are a lot of names to keep up with and some really long sentences in there too. What I'm having a hard time with, though, is William's treatment of Matilda. I know, different times, different attitudes, but really? (view spoiler)


Louise Culmer Elza wrote: "Back in the day, I read all the historicals -- even made an attempt at My Lord John but couldn't get through it -- so I have read this one before. I remembered liking one of them more than the othe..."

There are various different versions of what happened. In one, he dragger her off her horse and threw her in the gutter. The historical evidence for what happened seems to be scanty. but personally I think what he did to those unfortunate burghers is a lot more disturbing.


message 40: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments He was an out and out cruel b*****d!!!


message 41: by Elza (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments Louise wrote: "personally I think what he did to those unfortunate burghers is a lot more disturbing. "

Agreed! For all his supposed confidence, that was a huge overreaction.

Side note -- my younger son spent a semester in France during his college years and attended the University of Caen, in Normandy. Every morning on his way to school, he went past the ruins of William's castle.


message 42: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Elza wrote: "Louise wrote: "personally I think what he did to those unfortunate burghers is a lot more disturbing. "

Agreed! For all his supposed confidence, that was a huge overreaction.

Side note -- my you..."


That would be amazing!


message 43: by QNPoohBear (new) - added it

QNPoohBear | 1278 comments My library book is due in a week and I don't think I can finish this. It's so slow. It has too many people, too much gore, disrespect towards women (I know it's accurate but it's not easy to read) and way too many words I don't know. This time period is way out of my wheelhouse.


message 44: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1625 comments Oh you're not alone QNPoohBear. It's the first time in years I haven't finished a book. I was losing the will to live when I was half way through. When it started to become a chore to pick it up, that's when I threw in the towel.


message 45: by Susan in NC (new) - added it

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 3439 comments Teresa wrote: "Oh you're not alone QNPoohBear. It's the first time in years I haven't finished a book. I was losing the will to live when I was half way through. When it started to become a chore to pick it up, t..."

LOL! I got over halfway through and I love historical mysteries and fiction so I expected the gore and violence and horrid treatment of women, but I just wasn't feeling it. I struggled to pick,it up as well and found myself skimming through lack of interest.


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