Monday, November 4, 2013
Anvil of God ~ Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles
Charles Martel founded the Carolingian dynasty and was the ruler of medieval Western Europe. He and his descendants, called Carolingians laid the early foundations of what would come to be the kingdom of France. The lands north of the Pyrenees were being collected and won by the Merovingian kings with the assistance of their mayors of the palace.
Charles Martel was the illegitimate son of Pippin II, a family who had reduced the Merovingian kings to mere figureheads. Their family became hereditary mayors of the palace at that time in Austrasia. They were the power behind the throne and soon usurped the powers of the kings. Charles Martel became the mayor of the palace of Austrasia, instead of the legitimate grandson of Pippin II, by the acclamation of the nobility.
I learned a great deal about the origins of feudalism and empire by reading this book. Gleason is a fine historian and has a appreciation of the cultures of the regions involved in this pivotal time in history. The characters have energy and dimension as well as being powerful figures.
Charles Martel was a skilled administrator and warrior as his mayoral duties would dictate. He surely established the beginnings of feudalism and knighthood. His son Carloman, at least in this tale seemed like an early Christian knight, although his chivalry surely went astray. Pippin the younger son was much less religious and more a man of the people. Hiltrude his daughter, here called Trudi was an enigma. Gripho the younger son portrayed by Gleason was shallow, juvenile and not very highly esteemed. How much of the personas of Charles' children is factual, even the author is unsure of, so little is known of them.
Battle scenes were graphic but that was the nature of war, then and now. I recommend the book to lovers of historical novels as well as battle buffs, although that is not my favorite genre. I look forward to the next installment of the family and hope it continues with future Carolingians. This family was important ancestrally to so many that I feel strongly that the remainder of the descendants of Charles should be explored in depth.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I found it a very worthwhile read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After a 25-year career in crisis management and public affairs, J. Boyce Gleason began writing historical fiction and is publishing his first novel ANVIL OF GOD, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles. With an AB in history from Dartmouth College, Gleason brings a strong understanding of the past to his historical fiction. He is married, has three sons and lives in Virginia.
This fine book will be given away to one of you from today through the end of the Book Tour. Get your entry in by November 29th at 6 PM by posting to this blog or sending me a e-mail or message at Google. I will choose a number at random and then notify you of your success. The giveaway is for one paperback and US only.