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Montfort The Early Years 1229 to 1243 (Montfort The Founder of Parliament series) [Kindle Edition]

Katherine Ashe
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Simon de Montfort, the founder of England’s Parliament, was the greatest knight and foremost military strategist of his time. Friend of Saint Louis, thorn in the side of the Plantagenets, he was chosen Viceroy by Prince Richard’s crusaders and the Christian lords of Palestine. He served as Senechal of France for King Louis’ heir, but rejected the Crown of England, championing instead the New Millennium of democracy preached by Dominican and Franciscan friars.

Was he also to father of King Edward I? It was the gossip of the time, and there is some
persuasive evidence.

Editorial Reviews


When reading through the ample "historical context" notes that follow each volume of Katherine Ashe's utterly remarkable tetralogy of novels based on the life of 13th-century warrior-statesman Simon de Montfort, one thing becomes obvious: she could easily have produced the most authoritative English-language biography of her subject ever written. --Historical Novel Society

Ashe presents a jousting first installment of a four-volume fiction on the deeply contentious founder of parliament, Simon de Montfort.
If the novel is thoroughly researched, as Ashe's is, is all the more thoroughly imagined... lively, emotionally charged--Kirkus

A great read...a marvelous, almost cinematic epic -- Erika Funke, Art Scene, WVIA Public Radio

A marvelous work of literature, and a great story you have here--Bill Jaker, Off the Page, WSKG Public Radio

Ashe...could easily have produced the most authoritative English-language biography of her subject ever written... These are wonderfully assured novels... Ashe's dramatic sense brings the era to vibrant life in a way no history could--Historical Novel Society

If the novel is thoroughly researched, as Ashe's is... it is all the more thoroughly imagined--Kirkus

From the Author

The four volumes of Montfort are the product of 34 years of research. The author chose the novel form, rather than historical biography, because the original material from the 13th century is fragmentary and deeply biased, both for and against Simon. By exploring Simon de Montfort's life with the freedom of a novel, the motives and the possible (unrecorded) actions and circumstances that could have brought about the known events can be offered. This is informed speculation and differs from other authors' -- historians and novelists -- renderings of the subject. In the Historical Context section of each volume the author provides source references and the reasons for the causal thread of development that was chosen.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1162 KB
  • Print Length: 333 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 143926466X
  • Publisher: Wake Robin Press; First edition (March 17, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,566 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
97 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh interpretation January 17, 2014
By Erin
Format:Kindle Edition
Katherine Ashe's Montfort collection of historical novels is one of the best historical works I've ever read. The books are very well written and impeccably researched. Contrary to what some of the reviewers of these books have said, approximately ten percent of the novels are dedicated to providing historical context and explanations as to the author's interpretation of historical events. Even the books' assertion that Montfort was the natural father of England's Edward I was speculation as stated by the author. Of course, certain reviewers would know this if they had actually read the books.

This collection of books takes a serious look at the characters and circumstances that led to the evolution of elective government through the creation of Parliament, which was founded by Simon de Montfort. The books suggest that the key to Simon's inexplicable problems with his king (and subsequent championing of elective government) began with Queen Eleanor's confession to a known archbishop (enemy of Montfort) regarding her conceiving the heir to the throne.

What many don't take into account is that there are very few surviving Chancery records during Henry III's reign, or at least for the most important periods of time relating to Montfort. Daily Chancery record-keeping was a fairly new innovation in the reign of Henry III who had a small department of bureaucrats establishing some systematic record keeping for the Crown. There are outages in the records, but the most striking gap is in 1238, the year the Montforts received Kenilworth and the Queen conceived the heir to the throne. Therefore, a person cannot really come to any certain conclusions regarding Montfort and his involvement with the Queen based on the Chancery records alone.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Poor Start March 30, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading books concerning William Marshal, I looked forward to reading about another man who helped alter the course of English History. I almost gave up reading at the half way part of this novel. Was this some sort of Harlequin historical romance? It seemed that Simon Montfort was forever acting like a love smitten teenage girl mooning over a rock and roll star rather than as a lord and leader of men. To wit:

"Dreams of the queen had filled him with shame, but now desire for the countess burned in him both day and night.Yearnings for her stalked him through his waking hours; and his sleep was a single, endless dream of passion and torment in Hell."

Good grief, Simon, why don't you just head into the village and pick up some willing tavern wench and get it out of your system?

What with Simon mooning around, brooding or locking himself in his tower room weeping I was more than willing to give up on this book half way through. I decided to persevere and give a quick reading to the rest of the novel. Things improved markedly in the second half (Book II). I got some historical insight into the crusades to the Holy land and the governance there and the war that later developed between King Louis of France and King Henry of England. The second half of the novel was fine, well researched historical fiction. It raised my rating from a two star to a three star but just barely.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I so much wanted to like this book September 19, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I so much wanted to like this book! The writing is light and easy but as much as I tried I did not care for any of the characters in the book. Simon is portraited as a self-loathing cry-baby who goes into deep depressions every time he hears bad news. But the real whopper in the story which I thought was an insult to the intelligence of her readers was to have Simon father Edward I. One thing is to take "liberties" when writing historical novels but this was right out science fiction. She first says that Henry's queen tells her sister-in-law that Henry is impotent to set the stage so there is no doubt in Simon's mind that Edward is his son. However, Henry and his queen had four other children.

For those of you who want to read more about Simon de Montfort I highly recommend Sharon Kay Penman's Falls the Shadow. Ms. Penman's writing is not only far superior but her research is impeccable.
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64 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive March 16, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What happens when a good researcher is mated to a good story teller?

You get "Montfort," Katherine Ashe's brilliant fictionalized biography of Simon de Montfort.

Ashe uses her skill as a story teller to put flesh on the historical skeleton of Montfort, brought up in the French court, heir to a British earldom, brother-in-law and confidant to a Plantagenet king -- and lover to his wife, soldier, would-be crusader, talented administrator and founder of England's first parliament.

In the process, she brings to life the 13th Century world of courtly love and religious prejudice, royal economics and churchly strictures, the conflicting claims of affection, honor and loyalty.

She also writes great battle scenes.

"Montfort, The Early Years -- 1229 to 1243," which takes Simon from his first encounter with Henry III to his appointment as guardian to Henry's son, shows Simon's many contradicitons and the forces that motivate them. Ashe uses her impeccable research not only to limn his actions but to make the motivations she imputes believable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Taking a second look at a reputed scoundrel.
This is a sympathetic look at one of history's characters which most writers have not spoken kindly of.. Most of what I have read about him was a bit more negative. Read more
Published 1 month ago by dellamayc
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of a great series
I just reviewed "The Viceroy", another in Katharine Ashe's series of 5 Simon de Montfort books. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kakky
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised!
As I was reading the first 2 books in this series I believed I was taking a brief break from my usual reading of historical books and engaged in the reading of some pretty far... Read more
Published 5 months ago by deborah
4.0 out of 5 stars historicalized fiction vs factionalized history
This fascinating biographic account, apparently well documented, gives flesh and spirit to an important medieval noble. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Edward A. Draper
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed family history
I enjoyed this book as it gave a glimpse into family history.
From a readers perspective I felt I understood the emotional struggle Simon had reconciling his christian and... Read more
Published 8 months ago by pj65
1.0 out of 5 stars Not enough action
Story does not move. To much description little action. Would not recommend as a historical novel. At times poor grammer.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent read
Well written and interesting I had n' t know much about him. Well worth the price. In fact I read her entire series on him and enjoyed them very much.
Published 16 months ago by carmamaze
1.0 out of 5 stars No Way!
What was the author thinking?! This is a terrible history! It's poorly written, with a slow story line, and a unconfirmed story that would confuse first-time readers about this... Read more
Published 17 months ago by CO book lover!
4.0 out of 5 stars This is good historical fiction
and the proof is that I bought the rest of the series after reading the first book. I know that some reviewers have picked at historical accuracy, but I don't find it unusual to... Read more
Published 18 months ago by P. Lach
4.0 out of 5 stars Engrossed in history
Fictionalized history may not be a fuddyduddy professor's preferred method to teach but it is a riveting way to learn. Read more
Published 20 months ago by E. Whiting
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More About the Author

Simon de Montfort would be hailed as the founder and champion of all the freedoms we hold essential -- were it not that his followers believed he was the Angle of the Apocalypse bringing in the New Millennium. To quell their revolution, the mere speaking of his name was made a hanging crime.

Like the painter who could not paint a sunset as gorgeously colorful as Nature spreads in the sky -- so no writer of fiction would dare devise a life so crammed with improbable battles, defeats and glories as Montfort's actual life presents -- culminating in so stunning an achievement as the creation of modern democracy.

Simon de Montfort's life, as recorded in the 13th century by his friends and mortal enemies, was so laden with conflict, adventure and unlikely reversals that interpreting the known events with clarity has led to my using the novel form as a laboratory for investigating possible causes. Each volume of Montfort includes an Historical Context section with my sources and the reasons for my interpretations.

Regarding myself: writing is my family's trade, my father was a staff writer for Cecil B. de Mille, my mother wrote poetry. What fascinated me about my father's work was the research -- though much of that never got into the films (The Ten Commandments, The Greatest Show on Earth and, for Samuel Bronston, El Cid.) Perhaps it was those bits and pieces of real history that didn't make it to the screen that have prompted me to be such an intent researcher, looking for those hints in old manuscripts that give insight into how the large events came about out of the day to day living of people's lives.

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