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This is the third book in the Morland Dynasty series that I have read - and I have to admit that I am still smitten with both the series and with the writing style of Ms. Harrod-Eagles
You can find my reviews of the first two books in the series "The Founding" here and "The Dark Rose" here. "The Princeling" takes place during the reign of Elizabeth I when the tensions between Protestants and Catholics (the Morland clan) are at their peak. The religious tension of the times does not escape the Morland family where some members have come to embrace the 'new' religion while other family members cling to the faith of their forbears.
Ms. Harrod-Eagles keeps the sub-plots intricately and adeptly woven and the fabric of the lives of the Morlands is revealed - replete with a real 'feel' for what life would have been like during this period of spiritual tumult. There are many characters in this book and their lives, through births and deaths, are strongly interwoven - but I did not find it all difficult to follow each family member as they moved through their lives and affected the lives of their family. Some chose to leave the family whilst others remained. One son, William, leaves to pursue a career as an actor in the seedier parts of London. Another son, John, who is the Morland heir, heads North to the Borderlands where he meets and marries Mary, the bold, challenging daughter of cattle lord 'Black' Will Percy. One of the Morland sisters, Lettice - the gentle one of the clan- is married to a pitiless Scots Baron, Lord Hamilton ,who life revolves around the treachery within the Court of Mary, Queen of Scots.
Each time I finish a book in this series I am ready to read the next one. In fact I think it would be best if I was, indeed, able to have the whole series on hand - ready to read one after the other. I don't believe that I would become bored with the reading and I know that I could maintain the relationship continuity more easily if I had multiple volumes ready to read on my bedside table. Sourcebooks has done a wonderful job in re-releasing this excellent series. Better covers, nice paper and a good font choice all make the reading even easier. You can see the entire series-to-be on Cynthia Harrod Eagle's website along with more information about the Morland's lands and aYahoo discussion group.
I am, as you can tell, a real fan of this excellent series. Whilst the characters may be fictitious the history and the 'feel' of these books are based on real happenings, buildings and history, all of which Ms.Harrod-Eagles explains quite well on her website. She also has a handy page that places the volumes of the series in order. I am ready for the next couple of books "The Oak Apple" and "The Black Pearl". Obviously, I highly recommend this series. It's highly addictive!
Note: this book was provided to me by the publisher for purpose of honest review. No other remuneration was provided