It’s Anno Domini 1200. King Richard the Lionheart is dead. And in the final years of her own eventful life, queen-duchess Aliénor of Aquitaine launches a deadly dynastic chess game to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, her only surviving son.
To that end, Aliénor coerces into matrimony her two pawns: Juliana de Charnais, a plain and pious novice determined to regain her inheritance, and Guérin de Lasalle, a cynical and profligate captain of a band of Richard’s mercenaries, equally resolved to renounce his. But Aliénor wants their marriage to save Jonn’s patrimony from the plots of Philip, the king of France, and her own vassals, the traitorous lords of Lusignan, descendants of the legendary half-serpent Mélusine.
Preferring the company of his routiers, bawds, and barrel houses, Lasalle does not intend to be a husband to the shy young woman, nor to become entangled in John’s own matrimonial mire, but at the heart of Aliénor’s scheme is the mystery of his own past that could cost John his thrones—and Juliana her life.
Masterfully complex and compelling, The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton is a delightfully complicated look at the tumultuous times of 13th century England and France. Personally I enjoy complex novels filled with a diverse and full cast of characters and multiple storylines feeding into a plot and Norton delivers beautifully on all accounts. Norton grabs the reader’s attention and does not let go in her fast-paced, detail-oriented and compelling storylines. The Sixth Surrender is an excellent example of fine medieval historical fiction by an author who has clearly done her research recreating the life of Aliénor of Aquitaine vying to save her title and lands with the use of her son John Plantagenet and those around her, including an arranged marriage between Lady Juliana and Guerin de LaSalle. Brilliantly powerful, this book has a little bit of everything making it an excellent action, adventure novel filled with mystery, intrigue, and passion, enough to keep one reading long into the night. I highly recommend The Sixth Surrender to anyone who truly enjoys a well-written historical fiction book.
Hana’s passion for the Middle Ages dates to a childhood exploring the ruins of castles and cloisters in the (now) Czech Republic. She also developed that “lurid taste in fiction,” by reading dog-eared novels full of the drama and melodrama of history. She graduated with an MA from the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, and a Ph. D. (both in history, of course), from the University of New Mexico where she currently resides. She is married to an Englishman, teaches part-time, and works as a historical consultant.
Her latest book is The Sixth Surrender. You can visit her website at http://www.thesixthsurrender.com
Hana Samek Norton’s THE SIXTH SURRENDER VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ‘10 officially began on November 1 and will end on November 26, ‘10. You can visit Hazel’s blog stops here during the month of November to find out more about this great book and talented author!
I received a complimentary copy of The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.