I went into this book expecting to learn about the Hundred Years War and to be entertained. This story managed to do one of these things. John Potenhale is telling a very lengthy tale to the widow of a French knight who he met and admired. The entire book is told in a kind of flowery language that makes me think of the great King Arthur stories or Chaucer’s tales. Such manner of telling a tale works good for a Shakespearean play but was rather tiring for a 10+ hour long novel.
I did like that setting was well done. The politics of the day as well as the geography were covered but not in a big hard to swallow lump. I felt like I was learning things as Potenhale was as he worked hard to become a knight and gain esteem. I think this is a good introduction to the Hundred Years War if someone is looking for a way to get interested in that time period and location.
There are very few female characters and this was a disappointment. There are plenty of histories (nonfiction and fiction) for this war that fail to include the ladies so I was hoping this tale would be more inclusive. There’s Margery, a handmaid to the Lady Joan. That might be it… I think Potenhale thinks about his mom from time to time…. and the Virgin is mentioned several times when a knight feels like praying. Joan and Margery are love interests and nothing else. So that let me down.
The tale has a few slumps but then a rousing battle scene at the end. It wasn’t all glory, which I was glad to see. Potenhale takes in the reek and savagery of battle. Then there’s a bit of an epilogue in which we learn the outcome of the romantic pining that has been going on. All told, it wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad. 3.5/5 stars.
The Narration: James Young did a good job with this narration. He maintained a flowery oration all the way through as the story required. His French accent and pronunciations were great. His female voices could have used a touch more femininity. His pacing was just a touch slow for my taste. 4/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rosanne E. Lortz. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.