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Robert Shea

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Kveto from Prague
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Robert Shea

Post by Kveto from Prague » Tue September 18th, 2012, 6:40 pm

Just finished his 2 part novel the Saracen and all I can say is wow. that was good. Set mostly in 13th century Italy it is a royal tour de force. Excellent well-drawn characters, all flawed and human, none of them clear protagonists, you find yourself rooting for all of them even when they are against each other. He jugles a number of characters, male and female, excellently.

Shea gets his history right as he mixes christians, mamlukes, jews, tartars, moors and others with a perfect balance of realism to their actions. Also telling the story through a Mamluke in Europe is quite original.

The only regret is that I knew the history behind the Italian crusade so I knew how things would turn out. I wish I hadn't so I could have learnt as things unfolded.

Great books. funnnily enough Ive waited about 20 years to read these as I recall seeing them in a library that long ago and not picking them up for whatever reason. I'm glad I finally read em. Worth the wait.

annis
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Post by annis » Wed September 19th, 2012, 4:06 am

I enjoyed these when I read them back in the day - quite a few neglected historical figures like King Manfred of Sicily have bit parts. My favourite Shea novel was All Things are Lights, which is set during the Cathar Wars of the 13th century.

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Wed September 19th, 2012, 9:53 am

Yes, I've read All Things Are Lights - I think it had a sequel but can't remember the title, and it may be false memory syndrome, but I would certainly read more of Robert Shea's work based on what I have read. He's a fine writer.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon December 2nd, 2013, 9:26 pm

"The Saracen" is a sequel for "all things are light" in a way, as a character born in the later is a main character (grown up) in the "Saracen" so it continues the story, so to speak (but you don't need to read "All things are lights" first.)

I liked "All things are Lights". Not as good as "The Saracen" as I found it a lot more straightforward with clear "good guys" and "bad guys" whereas the Saracen felt more ambiguous (thereby more realistic for me).

I found some of the romance chapters a bit cheezy (How many times did the Lady have to sigh over how "tall and dark" her troubador was?). But it really nicely tied together a lot of interesting aspects of the times: crusades, cathars, trobadors, templars, King Louis, tournaments, the inqusition, etc. I found the crusading chapters with Saint Louis and Baibars the most appealing. Also interesting that the dastardly Charles of Anjou has cameos, considering the part he'll play in the "Saracen" novels.
Last edited by Kveto from Prague on Mon December 2nd, 2013, 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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