Italy, 11th Century. The Byzantine Empire rules much of Europe and in the Italian states it does so through force and bribery, but the indigenous populations are restless. Arduin of Fassano - with the Lombard and Norman men he commands - are mercenaries for the young and enterprising Byzantine general, Michael Doukeianos. However, Arduin feels the time may have come to rejItaly, 11th Century. The Byzantine Empire rules much of Europe and in the Italian states it does so through force and bribery, but the indigenous populations are restless. Arduin of Fassano - with the Lombard and Norman men he commands - are mercenaries for the young and enterprising Byzantine general, Michael Doukeianos. However, Arduin feels the time may have come to rejoin his Lombard brethren and rise up in revolt against their Eastern rulers. A crucial city in this revolt is the fortress of Melfi. General Doukeianos appoints Arduin to protect it, unaware of his imminent betrayal. To guard this stronghold Arduin hires the most-feared of all the Western soldiers: the Normans. Led by Rainulf Drengot and his right-hand man William de Hauteville, oldest of the mercenary de Hauteville brothers, these men are Arduin's greatest hope of overcoming the might of Byzantium....
|Number of Pages||:||447 Pages|
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The Story Continues!Although William is dead, his brother Robert is rising among the others, showing his abilities and sense of political aptitude at a time that requires leadership. Now, with their allegiance to the. pope in place, they have a great opportunity to be successful in Italy.
I was looking forward to the continuation of De Houteville brothers' story but it was not like I expected. This seemed to be more the set up for the final conquest of southern Italy by the Normans. This was more the political intrigue between Byzantium and the Lombards that set up what is to become their loss of control as they try and wrest military power from the Normans...typically done through assasination. In telling this part of the story the book moves slow, talking is not as exciting as a calvary charge.Reading about the Norman mercenaries you get the sense for the military power they represented, but what they lacked was the mind for politics. They were brutes. We were introduced in the first book to the beginnings of the Norman desire to acheive more than being mercenaries, real power is land and titles. This book explained how that was acheived. I look forward to the next as they consolidate and expand their influence.
I have read some of the naval histories this author has written under another name and enjoyed them so I thought I would give his Conquest trilogy a try. The first Conquest (Mercenaries) book was great. I gave it 4 stars and had great expectations about this book. As it turns out what you expect and what you get are two different things. I was a little disappointed in this book in that it concentrated too much on the political aspect of the time period. It also had way too many characters crop up here and there which made keeping track of their comings and goings and doings rather confusing at times. (That is why it took me 12 days to read it.)Is it worth taking the time to read? Yes, as there are a few good battles and the story of the main characters does advance. I will be reading the last book and I am expecting it to be as good as the first (fingers crossed).
I found this quite disappointing after Mercenaries, it was very hard to get into due to the long, long passages of dry narrative about convoluted politics and campaigning. There was very little engagement with the characters and their lives, to the extent that when (view spoiler)[William de Hauteville died (hide spoiler)] I found it very hard to care.
A little dry for me. I like books that focus a little more on the people and even though I am through the second book in the series I feel like the people are incidental to the story instead of the main part of it. I'll go ahead and finish the third, just to wrap it up, but they aren't my favorite.
I really liked this trilogy. I read book 3 first and wished I had began with book 1, but in the end it was all good. I think he could add a few hundred pages per book and be fine. Things seemed to have been rushed at times such as William's demise. I wish he had spent more time on that and Drogo's demise as well. It was all a bit fast, but a fun read for sure.
A great tale of war and intrigue. Overall I loved this instalment, but it went in a direction I was sad to see (can't be specific or I would spoil the story). Great series so far!
A brilliant sequel well written as the brother D'Hauteville continue to make their names and gain their titles.
The second in the trilogy did not let me down.... can't stop to review it though.... must read the third....