“The autumn wind was murderous cold. Small gray clouds raced like mountain hares above a drab and muddy billowing of land. Leafless limbs clattered in complaint against the onslaught of wind.”
The wonderful use of evocative language is just one of the things that sets Gemini Sasson’s novel ‘The Crown in the Heather’ apart. The first book of a trilogy about the life of Robert the Bruce, this novel covers the years from 1290 to 1306. The author takes the reader on a journey that encompasses the length and breadth of England and Scotland and as far as Paris as it chronicles the complex politics, back-stabbing and double-dealing as men fought for the Scottish Crown. It is a dark and raw story, written of a turbulent, violent time. What impressed me most was that Sasson chose the difficult path of writing her story from the different view points of three people – all in first person. And it works. Robert the Bruce, James Douglas and Edward, crown prince of England all come across as distinct individuals, each with his own voice, each with his own motivations. The secondary characters – people like Edward’s brutal father, Edward I – known as Longshanks, Robert’s wife Elizabeth and the towering William Wallace are clearly drawn. Sasson has done her homework and the settings and the details are vivid. This is a marvellous book. I look forward to the second volume.
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