Continuing the Fitzwarin saga and the story of Fulke and Maude and their tumultuous life together. The quarrel with King John festers further and breaks out into open hostility. Fulke is now an outlaw though he has several allies in all parts of the land. King John has not forgotton his slight at the hands of Fulke and is determined to bring him to his knees.
I had read about King John in several books. He was not one of the monarchs that people could be proud about. Constantly drunk, carousing and seducing both maidens and the married ladies or rather taking them by force seemed to be the things one remembers him by. Of course he had to live upto an image of King Richard whose crusades and whose life was one that was much admired. King John is a primary character of this book because it is his actions which brings about so much of factional division amongst his citizens.
Fulke carries on the fight of his father to get back the White Castle from the new owners who have it gifted to them by King John. Having sworn fealty to King John the Fitzwarins now find themselves owners of the Castle but to what cost. Fulke's obsession with getting Whittington was at the cost of stability and caused further division with his neighbours. The fights with Welsh clansmen was devastating and continuous and it seemed that Fulke was so much of a one track mind that despite having so much of land, manors and properties elsewhere he seemed to be willing to endanger all for the sake of one, without just letting it go. This seemed so foolhardy and one which even his wife could not influence him about.
I think I also made a mistake (like Marie of Burton Book Review) to read this book immediately following Shadows & Strongholds. It may have been a bit too much. The first book was wonderful and it pulled you in immediately. This was a bit slower and I think since I knew the background story so well it was not that bright and shining. John had also begun to pall. He sounds such an unpleasant character and I think I had a surfeit of him!
Looking forward to more Chadwick.