Using characters known to recorded historyincluding one to become the real Sheriff of NottinghamElizabeth Ashworth weaves a tale of loves lost and found during the exile of Richard the LionheartRichard Fitz-Eustace's return from Palestine is far from joyous. Damned by leprosy, he must bid hisfamily a final and sorrowful farewell and leave his estates at Halton Castle forever. Condemned to shun the company of others, he must now find a place of solitude where he can seek forgiveness for sins committed in the Holy Land for which he is certain he has earned God s curse.
Resolved to live out his life as a hermit, he journeys north into the newly named county of Lancashire. But this is no arbitrary journey; there is one last obligation to beundertaken for his grandmotherhe must seek out her kinsman, Sir Robert de Lacy, at Cliderhou Castle and there press his consideration of her claim to his estate. Although Richard is well characterised, the remaining family members are somewhat nebulous: the much maligned Roger the younger brother who becomes head of the family when Richard is ostracised is in particular, badly depicted.
We learn that he is cruel and evil - and not much more! No details are given as to what form this cruelty takes - other than the fact that he teased his sister when younger - a pretty common family problem, one would imagine!
It would have lead to a lengthier novel - but the plot was sufficiently strong to enable this to have been perfectly practical. Nonetheless, overall this was an interesting and well narrated novel. The conclusion was satisfying-although, again, perhaps oversimplified, with Roger changing chameleon-like from the bad guy to satisfied leader of the clan!
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Based in part, on historical, real characters, it'll be interesting to see if the author follows this up with another instalment - there's certainly enough potential, and unanswered questions to do so. If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Rebel Heiress by Fiona Mountain. Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.
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Categories Fiction Non-fiction Children's books Authors. The de Lacy Inheritance by Elizabeth Ashworth. Category: Historical Fiction.