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Rakossy by Cecelia Holland

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Rakossy by Cecelia Holland

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue September 2nd, 2008, 3:33 pm

This book is set in 1525, a year covered by many other HF works, but this is the first I've read set in Hungary. The Ottoman Empire under Suleiman the Magnificent is at the peak of its power and the lands between Turkey and Europe are at risk. This is the story of one Magyar border baron. Believe me, Holland makes it clear that the border between Islam and Christendom makes the Scotch-English or Welsh-English border troubles pale in comparison.

Baron Rakossy has problems with his immediate overlord/neighbor; he has problems with Archduke Ferdinand, who rules Hungary, and problems with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, whom he hopes will come to his rescue.
But his worst problem is with the Turks. The book keeps you on the edge of your seat with impending doom while following a realistic but sometimes tender political marriage and tense sibling relations.

What I particularly liked was the detailed information about how the Magyars and the Turks of that area lived, fought, and raided, also the impact of gunpowder-projectile weapons on the old feudal-castle tactics of warfare. Now I'm going to go look up more, altho Holland's reputation as an accurate researcher was one of the reasons I got the book.

A nice solid four stars.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Tue September 2nd, 2008, 3:34 pm

I went and copied this review from the old forum, which is now up again. I don't know about the legalities of copying and pasting other people's stuff, but would recommend everyboody go fetch anything of theirs which they thought worthwhile and re-posting it.

User avatar
Ludmilla
Bibliophile
Location: Georgia USA

Postby Ludmilla » Mon June 14th, 2010, 6:33 pm

I finally read this over the weekend. Really enjoyed Rakossy as a hard-as-nails character (Holland, I think, is particularly talented at creating these badass characters without softening them).

For anyone who has read this, I'd love to know if you have any theories on Rakossy's paternity. I think there were hints dropped, but never confirmed.

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Postby Kveto from Prague » Tue June 15th, 2010, 5:09 pm

this sounds good. I wasnt a fan of the last Holland book I read but i might try this one. I need some good old central European political HF. Such an untapped gold mine of material


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