In high school and college, I had several instructors who required their students to memorize dates for the history courses that I took. One date that was always required was 1066. As history major, I am very familiar with the Battle of Hastings so this book made it to my “to-read” list pretty easily. It probably would have stayed on my list of books to read for a bit longer, but when the author, G. K. Holloway, contacted me about reviewing the book I jumped on the opportunity. Mr. Holloway provided me with a copy of his book which I greatly appreciate.
The first part of the book sets up the background history to the actual battle very nicely. There is a lot of politics and history in this portion of the book. The narrative follows several members of several families. Holloway includes a character list at the beginning of the book which I was grateful for during the first half of the book. It was nice that I was able to refer to the character list to help keep all the families and characters straight in my mind. The first half of this book went a bit slow for me. I’m not sure if it was the actual book or the fact that I was studying for the GRE test and preparing to start my master’s degree in history. Once I took the GRE exam, this book really picked up for me so I tend to think that the slow start was due to my own personal time management issues rather than the book itself.
The second half the book was a much easier read for me. I was very engaged in the book by the second half and it just seemed to fly by. Even though I knew how the story would end, I was still eager to keep reading. Holloway did a fantastic job of vividly painting a gripping narrative of the Battle of Hastings.
Holloway’s writing was excellent. The book flowed well and I found I could almost relate to some of the characters. It is also very evident that he did his research. It was not hard to see that he spent a lot of time delving into the history of this time period and the events in the book. It is the first historical novel that I have read in a long time that I felt as if I was also getting a commentary on life during the time period.
If you are interested in historical fiction or British history, I highly recommend this book. I gave it a solid four star rating.