Hey everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Black Prince which was kindly sent to me by Anne Cater/Random Things Tours (thank you!)
Before I tell you what I thought of the book, check out the synopsis!
What the book is about…
‘I’m working on a novel intended to express the feel of England in Edward III’s time… The fourteenth century of my novel will be mainly evoked in terms of smell and visceral feelings, and it will carry an undertone of general disgust rather than hey-nonny nostalgia’ – Anthony Burgess, Paris Review, 1973
The Black Prince is a brutal historical tale of chivalry, religious belief, obsession, siege and bloody warfare.
From disorientating depictions of medieval battles to court intrigues and betrayals, the
campaigns of Edward, the Black Prince, are brought to vivid life by an author in complete control of the novel as a way of making us look at history with fresh eyes, all while staying true to the linguistic pyrotechnics and narrative verve of Burgess’s best work.
What I thought of it…
Anthony Burgess said that he wanted to create a visceral reading experience. I would say that he and Adam Roberts absolutely succeeded. There was definitely no sugar-coating in this book! I do have to say that the battle scenes felt like a little much at times. I understand that wars are gruesome and I am by no means squeamish but some of the graphic detail here was too much even for me. So yes, very visceral. However, if you like your historical fiction on the gory side, this is definitely a book for you!
Despite all the blood and guts, there was actually some really lovely writing in parts. I haven’t read A Clockwork Orange but I’m aware that Anthony Burgess had a very distinctive writing style and I would say that Adam Roberts definitely stayed true to it in this extension of Burgess’ original script, while also adding his own stamp.
The style is a little difficult to get used to at first, feeling quite disjointed with its many sections. I can only surmise that this is due to the amalgamation of the two different authorial styles? However, I did quickly come to enjoy it and found it fascinating to see a period in history through the multiple perspectives used. The inclusion of newspaper headlines, songs and prophecy-style sections made for a nice framing technique; it was interesting to see things through the eyes of royals, soldiers and common people alike.
This book provided a great way to learn more about a period in history of which my prior knowledge was non-existent. I would actually enjoy reading about other historical events in this style; the book felt almost like non-fiction but nowhere near as dry. The Black Prince is a very informative read (if a little too cerebral for me at times) and I’m sure it will satisfy those interested in royal history.
Thank you again to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book! Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour 🙂