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Sovereign by C J Sansom

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Mon January 24th, 2011, 7:37 pm

I'm so glad someone started a thread on this book!!! Many thanks EC!!

My friend in England started me on this series and I just finished Sovreign last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the others in the series because I like the MC. I like that he's so determined to do things right even though it can get him into trouble.

I am very intrigued by the legend mentioned in the book. Can anyone shed further light on this? Was it real? How much truth was there in it?

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed January 26th, 2011, 5:04 am

Do you mean the Mouldwarp story? I believe that it was an adaptation of one of the Prophecies of Merlin, concocted by Geoffrey of Monmouth, like the Arthurian legends, out of various bits and pieces of Welsh folktales.

In the Prophecies there is mention of the Mouldwarp, but it doesn't specifically mention Henry - that was a later addition made by those who had no reason to love Henry.

According to the verse prophecy, a certain king would be the Mole or Mouldwarp, a hairy man with a hide like goatskin whose fate it was first to be greatly praised by his people, then " cast down with sin and with pride." After his fall, the Mouldwarp was to "lead all his life/In war and in trouble and in much strife," condemned by the vengeance of God to wage a losing battle for his kingdom. In the end he would go down to defeat amid scenes of gore and destruction - his castles fallen, the rivers red with the blood of his vanquished armies, the very hills sundered in two with dread - and would flee like a coward to end his life in exile on a lonely island. England would be finally given over to the Mouldwarp's enemies, and would be knows thereafter as "the land of conquest."

Despite them being fiction, the English kings took the stories of Arthur and the Prophecies of Merlin very seriously. Edward I was so obsessed with the Arthurian stories that he even had his own Round Table built. In her novel, Insurrection, Robyn Young bases part of her story on a secret Prophecy of Merlin which Edward is determined to fulfill. Edward did in fact believe that he should emulate Arthur by attempting to unite Britain- one reason for his vigorous campaigns against the Welsh and the Scots. Henry VII was also convinced by the Arthurian basis to his genealogical legitimacy, even naming his oldest son Arthur, and Henry VIII also used the legend to justify his claim to the throne.
Last edited by annis on Fri January 28th, 2011, 5:36 pm, edited 4 times in total.

User avatar
Rowan
Bibliophile
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans
Contact:

Postby Rowan » Wed January 26th, 2011, 1:47 pm

Thank you annis. I was mainly wondering whether the "prophecy" itself was real or a product of the author's invention. Thanks for clearing that up.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed January 26th, 2011, 6:24 pm

The prophecies do exist but were made up, though people did (and some still do!) take them as being genuine. There were all sorts of complicated calculations made to work out who the Mouldwarp would be- I think the theory was that the Mouldwarp would be the sixth king after King John or some such. As Henry was (I think) the twelfth king after John, the Henry as Mouldwarp idea didn't match up anyway.
Last edited by annis on Fri January 28th, 2011, 4:42 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George & The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Postby Madeleine » Mon October 22nd, 2012, 1:45 pm

I finished this book last night - I've done a separate review - and I did enjoy it, although at times I felt it could have been edited a little bit; I still think Dark Fire is my favourite so far. I agree that Shardlake is a great character, he's believable and comes across as honourable without being too good to be true - in fact towards the end of the book he faces a terrible dilemma, and is left with a heavy conscience as a result. I also liked the way that Barak developed as a character, and how the relationship between him and Matthew also progresses; at one or two points in the story, it's looking very shaky indeed. And as ever, the machinations of both the Royal Court and the lawyers are depicted very well. Although it's fiction, there is quite a lot of historical background too, and this book only further enhances my opinion that Henry VIII was a tyrant, certainly by modern standards! I also like the way in which CJS describes the more gruesome aspects of life back then - and yes I know what EC means about the prisoner's attempt to harm himself! - yet the author never sensationalises his descriptions of torture or overdoes the gory details, which I think has more effect than pages of description.
Currently reading "A Suitable Vengeance" by Elizabeth George and "The Dark Angel" by Elly Griffiths

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George & The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: Sovereign by C J Sansom

Postby Madeleine » Mon September 28th, 2015, 3:44 pm

I've been listening to a radio adaptation of this - it's excellent and they've just got to the bit with the handkerchief - I'd forgotten that bit, glad I wasn't eating at the time :o
Currently reading "A Suitable Vengeance" by Elizabeth George and "The Dark Angel" by Elly Griffiths

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

Re: Sovereign by C J Sansom

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon September 28th, 2015, 8:43 pm

Is the radio adaptation different from the audiobook version?
I have all the audiobooks of Sansom's Shardlake series, the dh and I just loved listening./reading them together. (he listens during his commute, while I usually read the kindle version, since I prefer reading to listening if I have the time.)
They are so evocative of the details of Tudor England (without traveling the same old well-worn ground of the major royal figures) that I bought an inexpensive mp3 player and downloaded the series just so I could loan them around to our renaissance group.

Great books.

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George & The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: Sovereign by C J Sansom

Postby Madeleine » Tue September 29th, 2015, 8:39 am

Yes they are great books aren't they, very evocative.

I'm afraid I can't comment on the audio books, but the radio version is in 15-minute episodes, and going by what I remember from the book I think it's quite heavily abridged, I don't know if the audio versions are also abridged.
Currently reading "A Suitable Vengeance" by Elizabeth George and "The Dark Angel" by Elly Griffiths

User avatar
Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George & The Dark Angel by Elly Griffiths
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Re: Sovereign by C J Sansom

Postby Madeleine » Tue September 29th, 2015, 2:43 pm

Today they did the bit with the bear, I'd forgotten about that part too. Some great sound effects.
Currently reading "A Suitable Vengeance" by Elizabeth George and "The Dark Angel" by Elly Griffiths

whitney
Newbie
Currently reading: Sarum
Interest in HF: Love British historical fiction most, but all sorts interest me.
Favorite HF book: London
Location: Outside NYC, USA

Re:

Postby whitney » Sat March 26th, 2016, 6:44 pm

Rowan wrote:I'm so glad someone started a thread on this book!!! Many thanks EC!!

My friend in England started me on this series and I just finished Sovreign last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well as the others in the series because I like the MC. I like that he's so determined to do things right even though it can get him into trouble.

I am very intrigued by the legend mentioned in the book. Can anyone shed further light on this? Was it real? How much truth was there in it?


So glad to find this thread...I love Sansom's books and have read all of them. Historical Fiction is my favorite.
BTW, I'm new here and apologize for jumping in when I should be introducing myself.


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