Georgette Heyer Fans discussion

The Conqueror
This topic is about The Conqueror
21 views
Group Reads > The Conqueror Group Read Oct 2016 Parts 4 - Epilogue

Comments Showing 1-33 of 33 (33 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
This thread is for the second half of the book. May have open spoilers. If anyone wants to discuss the 950th anniversary of The Battle of Hastings, this is the place!!


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
GH was meticulous with her research, but the wikipedia story has a few differences. No mention of her being married before. & the whipping may be a (violent) legend.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda...


message 3: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (last edited Oct 13, 2016 12:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
I finished this & absolutely loved it. (previously it would have been around 4* for me,) this time I have rated it as 5*.

I must say, I didn't remember this book having quite so many fictional characters as it does. I found male friendship and trust a very important secondary theme - in fact for me it was the best part of the book.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
& the reenactments have started.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

Gives the full impact of the Saxon's march!


Louise Culmer i managed to finish it but it was very heavy going. more battles and conversqtions about battles, and raoul and his beau signeur got on my nerves. not one of her best.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "i managed to finish it but it was very heavy going. more battles and conversqtions about battles, and raoul and his beau signeur got on my nerves. not one of her best."

Interesting. I really like Raoul.

I'm going to go out on a limb here & say it looks like I'm the only one who enjoyed this reading of the book! :D

More information about events around the 950 year anniversary.

http://www.kentlive.news/what-s-on-fo...

Daytime fireworks??? But some of the other things offered sound interesting.


Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review) (knyttwytch) I liked Raoul as well and I was glad he and Elfrida got married - the book itself I found heavy work but not so heavy as to put me off reading her other historicals.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Hilary wrote: "I liked Raoul as well and I was glad he and Elfrida got married - the book itself I found heavy work but not so heavy as to put me off reading her other historicals."

I found the symbolism in their final scene a bit heavy handed and awkward though.


Louise Culmer Carol ♛ Type, Oh Queen! ♛ wrote: "Louise wrote: "i managed to finish it but it was very heavy going. more battles and conversqtions about battles, and raoul and his beau signeur got on my nerves. not one of her best."

Interesting...."


i never find doglike devotion an attrqctive quality.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Louise wrote: " i never find doglike devotion an attractive quality.

I didn't find Raoul's loyalty dog like. He remonstrated with William at least once. He was another of GH's "sweet" heroes - Raoul not William! - & I do like them.


message 11: by Elza (last edited Oct 15, 2016 09:04AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments I like Raoul, except at the end where he goes all caveman on Elfrida, poor girl. The central relationships in the book are not romantic, though. They are the ones between Raoul and William, and Raoul and Edgar. The first is one of mutual respect but is never one of equals. The second, however, is a true friendship, even when war divides them.

William is presented as a real hero, although certainly with his flaws. The most interesting aspect to me was his strategic mind and innovative methods of waging war. The archers, the way he drew his enemy in to fight on his turf and his terms -- brilliant, and obviously techniques that every military leaders since has used. I was strongly reminded of Wellington -- I believe that in The Spanish Bride and An Infamous Army, GH stresses how he always wanted to choose the scene of battle rather than be drawn after the enemy.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Elza wrote: "I like Raoul, except at the end where he goes all caveman on Elfrida, poor girl. The central relationships in the book are not romantic, though. They are the ones between Raoul and William, and Raoul..."

Oh yes! As I said above awkward symbolism & so clumsily written.

Great analysis Elza. I'd love to read a historical from Harold's POV. If anyone knows a good one, put it in the recommendations thread. :)


message 13: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments I had a look for other novels of the same period recently, and bought The Last English King by Julian Rathbone. I can't recommend it though because I haven't started reading it yet.

Am I alone in being reminded of Rudyard Kipling's stories of the Norman knight Sir Richard Dalyngridge (in the children's book Puck of Pook's Hill)? I went back and reread them, and found several similar themes, not just the fairly obvious "Saxon spends several years in Normandy / becomes friends with Norman hero / friends meet again as enemies at Hastings"... but also things like one of the characters protecting the other by sleeping close at hand. Unexpectedly (?) Kipling's Saxon Lady Aeluva is a stronger character than poor little Elfrida. I'm sure Heyer would have known the Kipling stories.


message 14: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments I liked Raoul too but that's about all I liked. Sorry guys but I'm throwing in the towel. Too heavy going for me and too many people to keep track of. And I have WAY too many books to read.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Teresa wrote: "I liked Raoul too but that's about all I liked. Sorry guys but I'm throwing in the towel. Too heavy going for me and too many people to keep track of. And I have WAY too many books to read."

That's OK Teresa. Believe me, GH's medievals are far harder going than this and it'll be a cold day in we are unlikely to ever do a group read of them.


message 16: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel (rereader3) I gave up, pretty much, two or three chapters in. I just couldn't work up interest--and I actually liked Simon the Coldheart, or at least I liked the first two-thirds or so very much. The last chunk, when the "romance" (such as it is) came in, I tend to skim through on rereads--or skip altogether. This one, however...no. Too jumpy by timeline, I haven't liked any of the characters yet, and the language is partly stiff and partly incomprehensible.

:( Sorry!


message 17: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments I feel your pain Rachel :)


message 18: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel (rereader3) Teresa wrote: "I feel your pain Rachel :)"

THANK YOU! :D


message 19: by Mary (new)

Mary | 37 comments Dear Conqueror Friends, I could not post earlier due to some family issues, but wanted to share a marvelous supplement to The Conqueror. I own a large 'coffee table' book on The Bayeux Tapestry, and pulled it out as I was reading October's selection (one of my favorite GH's I should add). If you can find a copy at your local library, The Bayeux Tapestry is a remarkable history companion piece. The Tapestry is claimed to have been the design work of Matilda, with many contributing to the needlework. The panels are a remarkable history and follow Ms. Hayer's story very well. Regards to all GH Fans - Mary


message 20: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments This animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry is fun to watch:

http://www.heritagedaily.com/2016/04/...

It starts with Harold's coronation, ie about halfway through the original tapestry.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Alathea wrote: "This animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry is fun to watch:

http://www.heritagedaily.com/2016/04/...

It starts with Harold's coronation, ie about halfway through the..."


Wow, that was awesome!


message 22: by Elza (new) - rated it 3 stars

Elza (emr1) | 296 comments Yes it was!


message 23: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments Have any of you seen the applique version of the Bayeux Tapestry being made by Pam Holland, an Australian quilter? See

http://texasquiltmuseum.org/bayeau-ta...


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Jacquie wrote: "Have any of you seen the applique version of the Bayeux Tapestry being made by Pam Holland, an Australian quilter? See

http://texasquiltmuseum.org/bayeau-ta..."


Wow that is beautiful & so vivid!


message 25: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments The appliqué version is indeed beautiful :-)

But this from the commentary is just weird:

"The textile was the only readily available record depicting the critically important battle that led to the writing of the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta, or “Great Charter,” is the first document to establish the rights of people to be governed by law rather than be subject to the whim of kings or lords."

Battle of Hastings: 1066. Magna Carta: 1215. It's stretching things a bit to say that one led to the other. I wonder whether they meant the writing of the Domesday Book? Or if they were just hopelessly confused about English history?


message 26: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments That is odd!! I know that here in Waterford we were given the Magna Carta way back in time. I think King John was here or something like that. For someone who loves history you'd think I'd know more about this :0. Disgraceful.


message 27: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments I've just looked for King John & Waterford and discovered that John gave Waterford its first town charter ("charter of incorporation") in 1205 "with murage and all free customs, liberties, and privileges enjoyed by the burgesses of Bristol." Not sure why the burgesses of Bristol were involved? Was there a trading link between the two ports? Or does it just mean that Waterford's charter was copied from that of Bristol?
http://www.libraryireland.com/topog/W...


message 28: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 1717 comments I'm ashamed to say you know more than I do!!! (hides head in shame). But I will look into it. A wonderful medieval museum opened up here some time ago and I keep promising myself a visit. I know there's something there about it.


message 29: by Susan in Perthshire (last edited Oct 31, 2016 05:42AM) (new)

Susan in Perthshire (susanageofaquarius) | 1118 comments Alathea wrote: "The appliqué version is indeed beautiful :-)

But this from the commentary is just weird:

"The textile was the only readily available record depicting the critically important battle that led to t..."


Alathea - you are absolutely correct. To attempt to link the Battle of Hastings with Magna Carta is beyond inaccurate and misleading!! Goodness knows where some of these folk studied history!! Magna Carta has become the example (from which many constitutions have subsequently been written), about the rights of the ordinary man and of the rule of law. Whilst it was essentially a peace treaty between John and his barons, it nonetheless established important rules about the power of kings etc.
http://www.thefinertimes.com/Middle-A...


message 30: by Jacquie (new)

Jacquie Scuitto | 261 comments It maybe that the comment referred to the system of laws and courts which the Normans imposed on England. Abuses under this system led eventually to the Magna Carta. Just my theory ...


message 31: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments Another Battle of Hastings / Bayeux Tapestry tribute:
http://www.bricktothepast.com/hasting...
... in Lego bricks.

If things seem to be getting a bit frivolous now (Lego bricks? honestly...) I'll get back to being serious, and say that I have now finished Julian Rathbone's The Last English King, and enjoyed it far more than The Conqueror. It's told from the Saxon side, and I found that Rathbone's style makes it far easier to follow what's going on. The Conqueror is full of characters, particularly the various noblemen around Raoul and William, who never really come to life and are immediately forgotten until the next time they pop up and you try to remember who they are; whereas Rathbone seems to portray his characters in a way that gives them both character and a sense of physical presence. It's also very visual: you can see places and people in a way that you can't with The Conqueror. I find that Heyer relies on using archaic and unfamiliar words to create a sense of history, and for me at least it doesn't work. Right at the beginning when she describes the market at Falaise, she has cubebs, cannelle, franklins, wastel bread, falding, sendal... If you don't know what all these things are, do you put the book down to look them up, or plow on with a general sense that it's historical? It's as though she prefers to use old words whether or not the reader will understand them, rather than describe the cloths or the spices in ways which make them immediate to the reader. She uses the same technique in the Regency novels, naming types of cloth, styles of gowns, bonnets, and foodstuffs without actually describing them, but it seems to work better there. Even in the Regencies she overdoes it sometimes, and gives the impression that having done so much research she's determined to use all of it. But in the Regencies she creates scenes and characters which are much more alive than anything in The Conqueror.

Rathbone won't be to everyone's taste, but if reading The Conqueror has made you want to re


message 32: by Alathea (new)

Alathea Jane (vronlas) | 56 comments ... posted too soon.

That last paragraph should have been:

"Rathbone won't be to everyone's taste, but if The Conqueror has made you want to read about this period from a different point of view and in a very different style, it's worth trying."


message 33: by Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂ , Madam Mod (last edited Nov 01, 2016 09:11AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 4323 comments Mod
Alathea wrote: "... posted too soon.

That last paragraph should have been:

"Rathbone won't be to everyone's taste, but if The Conqueror has made you want to read about this period from a different point of vie..."


If you press the edit button on the bottom right of your posts Alathea you can add more to the posts. I do it all the time. I'm a terrible typist.

The Rathbone book sounds like what I'm looking for, Alathea. I've put a "to read" on it.

& I love Lego but... :D

Part of the reason GH's technique works better in the Regencies is that there are more of them. You learn about sprig muslin or expressions like "to make a cake of yourself"in one book & you know what it means for the next. But her Regency characters to breathe more.

I love this book but I do prefer The Conqueror's Wife This is a cautious recommendation as it has been at least 35 years since I read it.


back to top