5 Stars. This was an amazing book on many levels for me and I was indeed sorry for it to end. I think there may be a sequel, and I have downloaded The Viking Hostage by Tracey Warr so I'm comforted..
Nest ferch Rhys is someone I knew about historically, and since my name is Carrow, also someone I needed to know about. I should tell you that I pursue genetic genealogy and have tons of Welsh DNA matches I cannot yet figure out. John Carrow my 9th great grandfather was likely from close to there and his sons and grandsons marry into Welsh families. I did know about Carew Castle, and Nest's children, but this book has so much more. That of course is one level of amazement.
I think all the characters in this novel have great depth, some more than others. The author has positioned her story in a way that brings Nest into contact with important persons in her life. Gerald FitzWalter de Windsor ( Carew Castle) and Henry I of England and Owain, Nest's cousin who abducts her were some of them. Haith who is historically known as Hait,Sheriff of Pembroke was not known to me and Nest's last husband was not either.
The history as we know it was amazingly well documented (Orderic Vitalis and other documents) and the characters were vivid and engaging. Sybil de Montgomerey and her husband Robert FitzHamon ( known as FitzHamon here) Lord of Gloucester and Glamorgan, a confidante of some of the sons of William the Conqueror, specifically William Rufus and Henry I.
That Sybil Montgomery and Fitzhamon's ties lead them in different directions at the time that Nest is entrusted into their care is a strong thread in the story. Gerald's ties to Glamorgan are known as was his on again and off again career at Pembroke Castle so it works quite well.
Definitely recommended to all Medieval history lovers of this period. It is engaging and artfully written and is one time that multiple person storytelling works for me.