- File Size: 7936 KB
- Print Length: 661 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (July 19, 2016)
- Publication Date: July 19, 2016
- Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00QPHKQZQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,761 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Castle of Kings Kindle Edition
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|Length: 661 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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About the Author
--This text refers to the audioCD edition.
From the Inside Flap
Over the next two years, Agnes and Mathis travel the countryside, tossed about by the war. They are each captured by and escape from various factions, participate in massive battles, make new friends both noble and peasant, and fall in love. Meanwhile, Agness falcon finds a mysterious ring, and Agnes begins having strange but seemingly meaningful dreams. Dreams that lead the two lovers to revelations about their place in the world and in the emerging German states. With The Castle of Kings, Oliver Pötzsch has written a historical yarn that calls to mind Ken Folletts The Pillars of the Earth and Bernard Cornwells Agincourt.
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I have previously read this author's Hangman's Daughter's series and his book on Ludwig II of Bavaria. All were well written with complex characters and a thoughtful attention to detail. I consider The Castle of Kings his best work that I've read so far. That is not to disparage the others. I would give them 5 stars also. This book deserves 10 stars.
It starts out setting the scene - instead of Magdalena the hangman's daughter, we have Agnes, the daughter of a knight that controls a castle. Like Magdalena, she is strong-willed, speaks her mind when she isn't supposed to, and resents everything about her station in life. Then we have Mathis, a childhood friend who she has developed romantic feelings for...but it wouldn't be a Potzsch novel if that romance was "forbidden", as he is a lowly smith. Potzsch obsesses over these class divides in his stories, and on a basic level this is the same storyline as HD, just genderswapped. I don't mind too much since I'm sure such things were common back then, but it's kind of a cliche. I also found Agnes to be extremely Mary Sue-ish and probably the least interesting of the main characters - the stuff about her dreams was a bit contrived and too convenient, and she doesn't really do much aside from getting herself into situations that Mathis and others have to rescue her from.
Then we get into the mystery bit that seems to involve Agnes's heritage and a secretive group that has something to do with a ring that comes into her possession. I won't spoil the plot too much, but as the story progressed there were certain things that I noted.
First, as with Hangman's Daughter, Potzsch loves to have 3-4 plots developing at once and abruptly switches between them, almost always leaving you on a cliffhanger. This can be a little jarring, but at the same time drives you to continue reading so you can figure out what that section was building up to. I finished this book in just 2 sittings as a result. Another thing the author likes to do is tries to make the mystery impossible to solve until he reveals it to you. This time though if you have read his other work and how he portrays the surprise villains and know how to dodge the red herrings, it was super easy to predict. The only question was the motive.
The ending was very disappointing to me, even though I loved the rest of the story despite the above flaws. Agnes was finally in the position to make a difference (to some degree - due to her being a woman there were of course limitations to what she could have done), and she just basically said "I don't wanna" and the ending just felt like nothing was resolved.
To summarize, if you liked The Hangman's Daughter series, you'll probably like this one. It has all the cool historical bits mixed with fiction to make it more readable, and it is a very engaging story that you don't want to put down. It's also interesting if you've ever lived in Germany or been around the area. For example I just was at Trifels castle last year so it added just a little bit of intrigue to it all trying to imagine how the modern town of Annweiler and the rebuilt castle were back then.