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The Long Sword Kindle Edition
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|Length: 443 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Book 2 of 4 in Chivalry|
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[A] great page-turner―ANCIENT WARFARE
The minutiae of military logistics, the mediations in inter-tribe rivalries, and the casual contemporary scene-setting prove unexpectedly engrossing...a sword-slash above the rest of its ilk―IRISH EXAMINER
The battles...are described with enormous verve and power. The ruthless intrigue and politicking that dominate his court are also brilliantly evoked. And, as fate and his own insatiable desire for conquest and glory drive Alexander towards death in Babylon at the age of 32, a genuine sense of an extraordinary personality emerges―SUNDAY TIMES on God of War
Cameron's ability to conjure up what Homer called "the battle haze" might make the ancient bard proud―GLOBE AND MAIL --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00JJ322Q4
- Print length : 443 pages
- Publication date : November 20, 2014
- Publisher : Orion (November 20, 2014)
- File size : 2269 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #438,195 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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A solid sequl to the Ill-Made Knight, we pick up with William Gold continuing tales of his daring dos. These include moments of friendship and tall tales told around the campfire as well as the ongoing effort to redeem William's soul.
And it's in these moments of William striving to be more than a mere bandit, more than a mere knight at arms whose a knight in name only, that the growth of the character is wonderful to watch.
William is not perfect but he is loyal to many factions. Loyal to the ideas of the Crusades, even as he sometimes fails to uphold the high standards of many of the finest in the Orders. Loyal to England, although he has killed more than his share of Englishmen. Loyal to the courtly idea of love for his lady, but still tempted to the sins of the flesh.
If HBO was looking for a series that brings the sizzle of sword and sex, of bringing the grim and gruesome horrors of war and conquest to life, they should start filming this series of books now before someone beats them to it.
Most of the characters are based on real human beings, who were the cast of a very complicated set of events, and his novels accurately follow the arc of the historical narrative that most historians agree upon. In fact, his Tryant series gives women their due as warriors in much the way that Adrienne Mayor does in her anthropological/historical study The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World. I love historical fiction and Cameron is as good as it gets.
Update. 3.26.19. I almost never re-read a novel. Too much time, however, elapsed between my first read of The Long Sword and my purchase of The Green Count. I opened The Green Count on my kindle a week ago and started to read the first couple of pages - found immediately that my love of Cameron's prose and his faithful historicity was not diminished by the intervening four years of reading other things. I missed The Green Count being published in 2018. Almost immediately upon diving into it, I decided that I could not do William Gold justice unless I re-read The Long Sword, not that The Ill Made Knight is unworthy, but the best place to jump to The Green Count is from The Long Sword. I just finished re-reading it moments ago. Can't wait to dive in - hope I don't have to wait so darn long for the next installment. But I will if need be, it's worth it!
Oh and he was tired. We get it. If you are really tired, and then an hour later you still haven't slept, you will still be really tired. I may not have been able to follow all the politics, but being tired is a simple enough concept even for me.
I'm still giving it 3 stars because there were plenty of good parts. The tournament was enjoyable, and I really ended up liking the character of King Peter despite his initial impression.
Top reviews from other countries
Once again the book contains a very well documented glossary at the beginning of this book, as well as two well-drawn maps of Venice and Alexandria in AD 1364/1365, which are the main features within this superb tale, while at the end you'll find a wonderfully explained Historical Note.
Story-telling is as always of a top-notch quality, simply because the author has the ability to keep his readers spellbound right from the start till the very end.
All the characters, whether they are real or fictional, come all superbly to life within this fantastic story of Chivalry, with all it's good and bad things.
As in the 1st book, this one also starts with a beautiful Prologue which is set in Calais in the year AD 1381, and it's there where our main character of this series, the real Sir William Gold, is telling his audience his tale of chivalrous adventures which will now take him to Venice and other Italian city states, as well as Alexandria in Egypt.
The book is divided into two different sections, one that is mainly set in Venice and other Italian city states, and the other part in Alexandria, Egypt, and the years in which these stories are set are AD 1364/1365.
The story itself is about Sir William Gold, who after having been Knighted outside the gates of Florence, is asked by Father Pierre de Thomas, Papal Legate of the Crusade, to join him for the Crusade for the Holy Land.
What Sir William does know is that the Saracens will be his first enemies, but what at first he doesn't know or realise is that he has deadly adversaries closer at home, in the likes of Bourc le Camus and the Count D'Herblay, who both like to see him fail or that he gets assassinated.
So with enemies from all kind of angles, assassins and conspirators, Sir William Gold and his Band of Knights have to overcome overwhelming odds, if they can and want to survive this suicide mission of a Crusade.
Highly recommended, for this is an absorbing and terrific story about Knights and all their deeds, and that's why I like to call this book "Chivalry At Its Very Best"!
I read the book from cover to cover in about forty eight hours (as usual with Christian Cameron’s books!) and finished it about a week ago, in the early morning hours shortly before going to work (and I will not pretend that I was terribly productive that day!). The reason it took me so long to write a review is simply that I could not make up my mind as to whether I should rate it five full stars, or a little less. Anyway, and despite a few quibbles, it is certainly very good, for multiple reasons which I will mention shortly, and I would definitely recommend it.
The meticulous research underpinning this book and the use of mainly historical characters are two of this book’s assets. William Gold was a historical character. He did in fact start his career as a cook’s boy on the English side. Many of the other characters are also historical. In addition to the Pope, the Emperor and the King of Cyprus Peter the First, Fiore (one of William Gold’s companions who was a master swordsman and would go on to write a treaty on fencing), Philip of Mezieres, Le Bourg Camus, Robert of Geneva and the Viscount of Turenne, to mention only those (but there are others as well) really existed. Moreover, the author has largely stuck to the historical records when presenting at least some of the historical characters. The real Le Bourg Camus, one of the captains of the Great Companies, was just about as awful as shown in the book while the real Robert of Geneva, once upon a time bishop of Cambrai, was just as scheming, over-ambitious, unscrupulous and ruthless. Some characters, however, seem to be fiction, such as Emile d’Herblay (shouldn’t it be “Emilie d’Herblay” since she is a woman?) and her “nasty” and cowardly husband. Their main purpose, I suspect, is to introduce a piece of romance into the plot.
Another strongpoint of this book is that the author describes in the whole quite faithfully the scheming complexity of Italy’s cut-throat (almost literally!) politics. This included the deadly commercial rivalry between Genoa and Venice, and the considerable reluctance of the former to support the Crusade and the planned attack on Alexandria because of its considerable commercial relationships with the Mamluks of Egypt and the port of Alexandria in particular.
The author may however have been a bit “creative” when interpreting the motivations of the Crusade’s leaders. Alexandria was indeed the main port in Egypt through which the spices from the Far East were sold to Western Europe. Occupying it would indeed have been a major blow against the Mamluks of Egypt and it would have cut them off from one of their main sources of income (the custom duties from the port). However, the idea according to which the port, once taken, could be held and would provide a launching pad for the re-conquest of the Holy Land seem to be somewhat delusional and smacks of wishful thinking. If the objective had really been to reconquer the lost “Outremer”, then there were other targets much closer to Cyprus.
Perhaps more importantly, and as the book shows, the small Crusading army which was about eight thousand strong and could not really expect reinforcements did not really have the means to hold the port indefinitely in the face of determined Mamluk efforts to recapture it. In addition, the author has simply omitted to mention that one of the main commercial competitors of the port of Alexandria was Famagouste, the port in Cyprus, so that the King of Cyprus may have had an interest in putting such a competitor out of action, for all his grand and noble attitudes, which are, by the way, historically attested. Also, in 1365, King Peter was about thirty seven and fully mature as opposed to the young dashing prince dreaming of glory that tends to emerge from the book while Philip the Maizieres (or Mezieres), who was his chancellor after having been that of this father’s was only four or five years older and who was indeed knighted on the battlefield just after the capture of Smyrna some twenty years before the events taking place in this book.
The events themselves are well-described and I certainly got the impression that Christian Cameron thoroughly enjoyed writing about the tournament and describing the battle scenes, both small and large. One thing that he manages to pull off rather well and which could have been tricky is to show the rather desperate fighting that took place to storm the city-port with the Crusaders winning a hard fought victory thanks to their battle tactics and superior armour against unfavourable odds. I am not quite sure that they were as outnumbered as the book seems to suggest. In addition, a large part of the garrison seems to have been made up of second class troops. In addition, the city governor had indeed left on pilgrimage to Mecca with a good part of it, as shown in the book. Anyway, even those who do know about the details will either not mind or not care simply because the action is quite gripping and “sounds, looks and feel” terribly realistic.
Another strong feature of this book is the description of the Crusader army and their very heterogeneous motivations. Some of the leaders, starting with King Peter and probably also the Knights Hospitallers of Saint John, very probably did believe in their holy mission to fight for the Holy Land. Others, especially the Routiers and common soldiers, were essentially there to pillage, loot and get rich while others still (the Genoese in particular) were very reluctant participants for the reasons already mentioned.
The descriptions of the sac of Alexandria are also rather vivid, although I am not quite sure whether the leaders were as shocked as they are made out to be in the book. Looting, pillaging, raping and murdering were “common practices”, and even normal and accepted ones at the time when an enemy city was stormed, regardless of whether the city was Christian or Muslim. Besides, it may have been often extremely difficult to prevent the sac of an enemy city, especially when the army leaders were short of funds and food to pay and feed the troops or when the siege and fighting had been particularly hard.
One point which some may find a little bit more controversial, although it concerns the author’s historical note rather than the book itself, is his “rant” (as he terms it) about the need for chivalry which “should not be a thing of the past” and that “war needs rules”. It is difficult to disagree with either the noble ideals of chivalry or the rather good idea of having “rules of war”, and I suspect that nobody will. The problem was to be able to live up to such ideals and to continue doing so even when the opposition did not. A related problem is that “rules of war” (or any rules, for that matter) are only meaningful if they are upheld by all and apply to all on both sides. One of the issues with chivalry was that it tended to be applied by knights and for knights, with all its aristocratic courtesy. It was certainly not extended to the almost worthless “piétaille” as the foot soldiers were called, rather disparagingly, by the knights themselves.
All in all, this was a rather superb read which I will finally rate five stars, despite my little quibbles…
The author has created many "real" characters, many of them based upon real people and has given his "hero" failures and failings all set against a strong religious backdrop. The picture he paints of the Knights of the religious orders is convincing and the complex geo-politcal situation is sufficiently clarified to help put the history of the fighting into perspective.
All in all I think that these two are Mr Cameron's best books so far and I look forward to reading further of the life of Sir William Gold, and those of his friends and his enemies.