11 October, 2013

Edward II and Isabella in Fiction

Here's a list of novels about Edward II and Isabella of France, and my (entirely subjective, of course) opinions of them.  See also the very full list of Edward II fiction on Susan Higginbotham's website.

Highly recommended

- Susan Higginbotham's The Traitor's Wife (2005), a novel about Edward II's niece Eleanor de Clare.  A brilliantly-researched, thorough and dramatic account of Edward's reign seen from the perspective of the woman who arguably was closest to him, by a writer who knows Edward's era inside out.

- Brenda Honeyman's The King's Minions (1974) and its sequel The Queen and Mortimer (also 1974).  My reviews are here and here.  Fantastic pair of novels about Edward and Isabella, full of insight and compassion, packing a lot of story, superb characterisation and good humour into a few pages.  The first one especially is just gorgeous, the most beautiful, erotic and sympathetic telling of Edward II and Piers Gaveston's love story it's ever been my pleasure to read.  Sadly, both novels are long out of print and extremely difficult to find these days.  I live in hope that they'll be reissued some day soon.

- Ivan Fowler's Towards Auramala, a very recent novel, which explores Edward II's survival past 1327 and his secret afterlife in Italy.  Ivan also runs a website on the same theme, well worth a read.  I was thrilled to see my beloved Henry of Grosmont, duke of Lancaster make an appearance in the novel, and he's written very well and convincingly; the scene where he pauses before diving into a lake to save a drowning man so that the ladies present can look at and admire his excellent figure - that's so Henry! - literally made me cry with laughter.  Edward III's good friend William Montacute, earl of Salisbury, also appears as a character, which pleased me a lot.  I'm not really taken with Ivan's depiction of Edward II, who too often comes across as so naive and innocent he's implausibly simple, but his memories of his beloved Piers Gaveston, dead for so long, and his relationships with the people he meets in Italy are beautifully done and moving.  Overall the novel is a terrific exploration of what might have happened to Edward after 1327, and is based on very solid research.


- Margaret Campbell Barnes' Isabel the Fair (1957).  Pretty good account of Isabella's life; both she and Edward are fairly sympathetic characters, and the historical accuracy is good for a novel written more than half a century ago.

- Chris Hunt's Gaveston (1992).  My review is here.  Sexually explicit, and despite the excessively purple prose, a very well-written account of Edward II's life narrated by the king in the first person.  I got exasperated by the slow-moving middle section, and finished the novel frankly exasperated with Edward himself for being so selfish, but still, it's a detailed and accurate telling of Edward's life, or rather, his love life.

- The She-Wolf by Pamela Bennetts (1975); see my review here.  The action in this one takes place between 1325 and 1330, and features a highly unlikeable, even deranged, Isabella and a rather more sympathetic, albeit totally incompetent, Edward.

- The Lion of Mortimer by Juliet Dymoke (1979), which I reviewed here.  Confusing title as the main characters are Edward II's friend William Montacute and his son of the same name, but overall a short and competent account of Edward's reign and its aftermath, and well worth a read if you're interested in the era.

- Harlot Queen by Hilda Lewis (1970).  Awful title and my copy has an awful cover (you can see it here), and melodramatically over-written, but despite myself I rather like this one, even though Edward II runs away at Bannockburn (nooooo, he didn't!), which makes Isabella despise him as a coward and his stepmother Marguerite of France, annoyingly called 'Madam Queen Margaret' throughout, declare "If the dead know aught he [Edward I] is shamed this day!"  I like it basically because of the ending; it's one of the very few Edward II novels which follow the notion that he didn't die at Berkeley Castle, which makes a pleasant and refreshing change from endless fictional accounts of a red-hot poker.  Without wanting to give too much of the story away to anyone who might want to read the novel - it was reissued a few years ago and is also easily available on Kindle - the last scene really moved me and felt emotionally satisfying and like real closure, and I'd love to think something similar actually happened.

- Alice by Sandra Wilson (1976), a romance where the (fictional) heroine Alice de Longmore falls in love with Piers Gaveston.  Well, who wouldn't, say I.  My hero Stephen Dunheved also features as a character, so that's two reasons to love it.  A downside is the description of Edward II as having a "strange womanish air" despite also being "a giant, strong and muscular," though overall he's pretty likeable.  A very nice story; I really enjoyed this one.

- The Lord of Misrule (1972) and its sequel King's Wake (1977) by Eve Trevaskis; the first one opens in 1300 and features Piers Gaveston as a major character, and the second begins shortly before Edward II's forced abdication, at Christmas 1326.  I'm afraid I can't say much about either novel at the moment as it's a few years since I read them and I really can't remember much about what happens in them.  Sarah Johnson at Reading the Past wrote a review of Lord of Misrule back in 2006.

- A Brittle Glory by Jean Evans (1977).  I can't remember this one much either, except that it's narrated in the first person by Edward II's Fool Robert Withstaff - who was a real person - and that I enjoyed it.

- The Follies of the King by Jean Plaidy (1980).  A typical Plaidy, competently told story, well-researched, characterisation minimal, and the usual red-hot poker.

- Cashelmara by Susan Howatch (1974), Edward II's story transplanted to nineteenth-century Ireland, with Piers Gaveston renamed Derry Stranahan and Roger Mortimer Maxwell Drummond; and Gaveston by Stephanie Merritt (2002), narrated in the present day by Gaby Harvey (i.e. Margaret de Clare), who falls in love with the glamorous academic Professor Piers Gaveston and later discovers his real relationship with her uncle Edward.  I really enjoyed both 'updates' of the story.

Not my cup of tea

- David Pownall's The Ruling Passion (2008), which I reviewed here, achieves something I always thought was impossible and makes the story of Edward II and Piers Gaveston really, really boring, so boring, in fact, that after I'd read a few chapters staring at a bare wall began to seem preferable to reading any more.  It has Edward and Isabella having to consummate their marriage while being spied on by a heavily-breathing dwarf, and in another scene has Edward being 'noisily buggered' by Piers Gaveston, which is possibly even less sexy than it sounds.  The main character is not in fact Edward or Piers, but the invented and also deeply boring William Wild, the Irishman.  It's very, very talky, and despite the title, has no passion whatsoever.  Actually, on the passionometer, it'd clock in at about minus 286.

- Paul Doherty's Death of a King (1982), the novel which - grrrrrrr - invented the theory that Edward II was not the father of Edward III, and made Roger Mortimer his real father, which of course is entirely impossible, despite being enthusiastically taken up as a theory by various other novelists.  The novel is wildly historically inaccurate, as all of Doherty's Edward II/Isabella novels and even his non-fictional book about them are, but has more credibility than it deserves, given that Doherty has a doctorate from Oxford about Isabella.  It's an interesting read, as a clerk of Edward III sets out to discover the truth about Edward II's fate in 1327 and ends up putting himself in danger as he gets too close to finding out what really happened, but the characterisation lets it down: both Isabella and particularly her son Edward III are weirdly portrayed as evil, raving psychopaths prepared to kill just about anyone.

- Paul Doherty's Mathilde of Westminster novels; my review of the third and so far final one is here.  (Did you know that Isabella of France was really, really, amazingly beautiful and sexy and desirable?  You certainly will when you've read these novels.)  As crime novels the series works, more or less, but as always Doherty abandons any pretence to historical accuracy, though his author's notes claim otherwise.  There's also his Prince of Darkness, one of his Hugh Corbett series, set in 1301 and featuring Piers Gaveston and a very precocious Edward of Caernarfon, who despite being only seventeen had discarded a mistress two years previously and is now desperate for her to die, for reasons that are never made clear.

- The Vows of the Peacock by Alice Walworth Graham (1955), reviewed here.  Narrated by the earl of Warwick's daughter Elisabeth Beauchamp, mysteriously much older than she was in real life.  Very slow, not too bad a read and by all means give it a try if you come across a copy, but don't go out of your way to find it.

- Janet Kilbourne's 1975 Where Nobles Tread, featuring the fictional characters Eleanor 'Nell' Stanton and William Darcy and the real-life Edward II, Isabella, Piers Gaveston and so on.  Nell becomes Piers' mistress, though Piers shares Edward II's bed with as much enthusiasm as he does Nell's.  Edward is much given to "drunken, rutting orgies" and Isabella calls him a 'pig' to his face, though she's hardly any better herself, taking lovers with wild abandon.  No-one seems to notice or care.  Isabella tries to seduce Our Hero William, who of course turns her down because he has far too much integrity to take advantage of the seductive little minx.  The novel is splendidly awful, full of stuff like "The Gascon eyes of Piers Gaveston blazed in a drunken wrath as he swayed slightly. 'Nell,' he gritted, 'are you coming?'...".  In fact, Piers 'grits' with alarming frequency.  It can't be healthy.  The author has a strange allergy to the word 'said', so that the characters grit, pout, croak, hiss, huff, bawl suddenly, retort bitterly, and ooze words, but rarely 'say' anything.  (To be fair, the author was only seventeen when she wrote it.)

No, thank you

- N. Gemini Sasson's Isabeau and its sequel The King Must Die, self-published in 2010 and 2012.  Isabeau is a very modern novel which follows all the usual tedious and inaccurate Victim!Isabella tropes that we see so often nowadays, and of course we have Shrieking Gay Edward II and One-Dimensionally Nasty Hugh Despenser.  Edward, who was described by fourteenth-century chroniclers as "one of the strongest men of his realm" and "fair of body and great of strength" here is "frail and defenceless"; the king who fought on the front line at Bannockburn and had his horse killed underneath him is said to have fled from the battle "because the sight of blood made him queasy" and to have been too "cowardly" to hit Isabella (errrrr, what?).  As with numerous other novels about Edward II and Isabella (Felber, Campbell Barnes and so on), Isabeau opens with a scene where Edward is not particularly interested in twelve-year-old Isabella at their wedding in January 1308, and evidently the reader is supposed to feel great sympathy for her and baffled annoyance with Edward for failing to acknowledge her amazing beauty and appeal, rather than thinking 'But surely it's normal and indeed preferable for a man in his twenties not to be sexually attracted to a pre-pubescent he's only just met and is having to marry for political reasons?'.  There are some scenes I found really unpleasant, such as the one where Isabella's young children are literally torn from her arms on Edward's orders - this never happened - and one near the beginning where Edward "snivels," which is entirely typical of the way he's depicted throughout.  Of course he does.  He's a lover of men.  Unpleasant stereotypes and clichés of how gay men are supposed to behave and feel such as this are what lazy writers use in place of actual characterisation.  Does the very manly and hetero Roger Mortimer "snivel" in the novel?  I think you know the answer to that one.

- Edith Felber's Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of Edward II (2006), which would be more accurately titled A novel of an invented Welshwoman called Gwenith who tediously spends half the novel mooning around trying to kill Edward II because his father hurt her family, which is really bizarre if you think about it.  See my review and comments here, here and here.  Shadows is full of awful inaccuracies and is another novel, grrrrrr, which has Edward II not being the real father of Edward III, who appears - though it's never made clear - to have been fathered instead by an unidentified Scotsman when Edward II 'abandoned' Isabella in Scotland (as for when and how that is meant to have happened, your guess is as good as mine).  I did rather like the character of Edward in this one, however; Felber does have talent as a writer and, unlike Sasson and others, doesn't go down the lazy and offensive route of using Edward's sexuality and caricatures of gay men as a cheap and easy way of creating reader sympathy for Isabella.

- Brandy Purdy's self-published The Confession of Piers Gaveston (2007).  My review is here.  It has a few really good reviews online, but I found it laughably awful, with the characterisation of Edward II evidently taken straight out of The Big Book Of Horrible Gay Caricatures and Piers Gaveston written as a low-born prostitute.  A prostitute.  Piers Gaveston, a prostitute.  Words fail me.

- Maurice Druon's 1959 The She-Wolf of France, La Louve de France in the French original; part of his Les Rois Maudits/The Accursed Kings series.  I utterly loathed it, with its dreadful characterisation and silly, entirely implausible dialogue (see here).  Druon's series has tons of fans, however, some of whom have commented or emailed me to complain about my review.  Haha, tough!

- Bannok Burn, part of the series about Robert Bruce by Charles Randolph Bruce and Carolyn Hale Bruce.  I read as much of it as I could stand, which wasn't much, because the dialogue is the worst I've ever read, Isabella of France inexplicably can't speak even the most basic French correctly ('mon dames'??) and Roger Mortimer is Edward III's real father.  Too, too dreadful to contemplate.  Here's an all too typical example of the awful writing:

"Better that, than hiein' south as you did when you heard Black Douglas was lurkin' in Douglasdale," gainsaid Percy. "Did ye fear his father's ghost was guidin' the young whoreson's hands for your throat?"
"Cease this bickerin'!" shouted the king, standing and throwing his hands in the air.



There are plenty of other novels which feature Edward II as a background or minor character, or which are set in his reign, such as David Pilling's Folville's Law; Steven McKay's Wolf's Head; Michael Jecks' long historical crime fiction series; Elizabeth Ashworth's An Honourable Estate, to name but a few.  Also a few romance novels: Virginia Henley's Infamous and Notorious, which should however be given the widest berth possible unless you enjoy seeing gay men constantly derided and disdained as perverted and disgusting; Mary Reed McCall's excellent and highly recommended Templar series; books by Melissa Mayhue, Annelise Kamada, Madeline Hunter, Isolde Martyn, and the very enjoyable The Lion and the Leopard by Mary Ellen Johnson, featuring an invented character who is Edward II's illegitimate half-brother.

And finally, other novels which feature Edward II as a character, which I haven't found time to read properly yet:

- The Queen's Tale by D.L. Birmingham
- Alesia de Lacy by J.G. Ruddock
- Woman into Wolf by Terry Tucker
- Letter from Poitou by Michael J. Eardley
- A Secret Chronicle by Jane Lane (whose main character is Edward II's daughter Joan of the Tower, queen of Scotland).


Lisa said...

Really handy list, Kathryn! Will use in reading the better Edwardian II fiction!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thank you, Lisa! Really glad you found it helpful!

Anerje said...

Tend to agree with most of your reviews on these novels. Did you forget about 'The Follies of the King' by Jean Plaidy? That started my Piers fascination! 'The Confession.....' is THE worst Piers novel I've ever read!

Btw, posted my review of an absolutely mediocre/dismal production of Edward II.

Anonymous said...

Glad that Hilda Lewis is recommended ... loved her "I am Mary Tudor". Should Alison Weir's book on Isabella be added to the list as "good fiction" (lots of research) or bad non-fiction?


Kathryn Warner said...

Anerje: ooops, yes, I forgot that one! Have added it - thanks for the reminder! Will go and read your review now :)

Esther: funnily enough, I did think for a moment about including Weir and Doherty's alleged non-fiction in the list :)

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Kathryn, sheepishly I admit that till this post I have known nothing about Henry of Grosmont. I guess it's high time to remedy thisfor he sounds like fascinating figure...

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

I have already started readint the first of your posts about him :-)

Katarzyna Ogrodnik-Fujcik said...

Anerje's review is really worth reading...

Kathryn Warner said...

Enjoy, Kasia! He's really amazing ;-)

Sonetka said...

William Darcy? Now that would make a really strange crossover. I wonder if the writer was actually thinking of P&P or if it just popped out of the subconscious as a "Good name for romantic hero" (and to be fair, it's period-appropriate. It's just that the name has a strong association with something else).

Sami Parkkonen said...

Perhaps, just perhaps there will be a new novel where Edward is just a normal man. We just have to wait and see.

MRats said...

Thank you, Kathryn, for posting your review of "The Confession of Piers Gaveston" on Amazon.com where it might save an unsuspecting world from terrible misconceptions about Edward and Piers. I'm glad to say that my copy was second-hand, so that Brandy Purdy received not a penny of profit from me. Anerje wrote that it's THE worst Piers novel she ever read. Verily, verily (as Purdy has Piers repeat ad nauseum) I say it's the worst novel I've read--EVER. You were generous to remark that you might have liked it more if it were about a fictional King, but I would have detested it anyway. It's nothing but a hackneyed, 1970s "bodice ripper" romance novel with the lead character a man instead of a woman. Rape, prostitution and promiscuity--it's the same old formula with a twist: Purdy wrote it as "gay literature". And if Purdy's friend should challenge your educated views again, remember, you have us! We're your fans and we can get--dare I say it?--MEDIEVAL on her arse. (I didn't use the American spelling of "ass" 1) out of respect for you because I know it rankles, and 2) I doubt Brandy Purdy's friend owns a donkey.)

Your remarks on Isabel the Fair were also insightful. For years I've resented Margaret Campbell Barnes for her depiction of Edward, but you're absolutely correct to say that she was doing the best she could with the historical resourses of the time. I had no right to expect the woman to be onmiscient.

As for Harlot Queen, I can't say I enjoyed it as much as you did, but I agree with you about the ending. Hilda Lewis did a fine job on "I Am Mary Tudor", but I found "Wife to the Conqueror", and for that matter, "Harlot Queen" to be grim and depressing. Lewis inflicts such emotional pain on her characters, and it isn't always substantiated by fact.

You also identified a number of books about Edward and Isabella that I didn't know existed, nor would I have been able to recognize them by their titles. Thank you! How I wish I could read Brenda Honeyman's "The King's Minions" and "The Queen and Mortimer". To date the best fictional account I've read of Edward's relationship with Piers is in Juliet Dymoke's "The Lion of Mortimer".

A word about Druon: I detested "The She Wolf of France", too, just as I did the last book of the series, which I believe is called, "The Lily and the Leopard". His depiction of Edward III seems as unkind as his assessment of Edward II. But you might find the first four volumes entertaining! Since I had no emotional investment in his portrayal of the characters, I found the books engrossing and, at times, even humorous. Believe it or not, there really DOES turn out to be a connection between the Lombardy bankers and the French royal family. In fact, if Guccio's son had encountered Edward during his wanderings in Italy, it would have been a fascinating coincidence! (I hope that doesn't give too much away.) But alas, if I recall correctly, Druon takes Edward out with the mythical red-hot poker. I know he doesn't claim that Edward escaped and survived. One note: I read the books in English. Perhaps the translater improved the dialog.

And there's one more downside to "Alice" that's not on the list--Sandra Wilson makes Edward a pedophile. You know how I hate that! (Any further information about Piers' age?)

Thank you for another wonderful post!

Kathryn Warner said...

Thanks, all, for the comments! :)

Sonetka, the P&P association occurred to me too! It's actually a rather good name to give someone in the early 14th century, as there were quite a few Darcys around in Edward II's reign.

Sami, really looking forward to it :)

MRats, thank you for the brilliant comment! Agh, I'd forgotten that bit in Alice about Edward. Hmmm, my opinion of it has gone down now :/ I was annoyed with a lot of Harlot Queen, but loved the ending so much I forgave a lot of what had gone previously, like Edward being a coward at Bannockburn (agh!!!!). Druon not only has Edward being dispatched with the poker, he has him shrieking something like 'you brutes, you brutes, you shan't do this to me', another agghhh!!!! I might give the earlier books in the series a try sometime, if you like them :-) Love your comments about the Purdy novel. I really wish now I hadn't deleted my original review of it here six years ago, but I allowed myself to be intimidated by the author's friends commenting on it, which wouldn't happen any more (frankly these days I don't give a toss about silly insecure people telling me on my own damn blog that I'm not allowed to express my opinion of something, especially a product I've purchased). You can see the same person commenting on this critical review of the Purdy thing: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2VPMHPHPA49R/

PS Sorry for not replying to your email yet! I will asap, I promise ;)

Unknown said...

Hi there, I'm deeply honoured by Towards Auramala being included among the Highly Recommended novels. Thank you! This is amazing! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I wanted everyone to know that a revised edition will very shortly be available, together with the Italian edition of the novel, to be released by Christmas (the title is simpoy Auramala). I am hard at work with the translator (well, he's actually working much harder than me at this stage) on correcting proofs, and making the most of the rather eerie exprience of reading one's own prose in another language to tidy up some of the writing in the English original. Including a scene where Edward II comes across as implausibly simple! I can certainly understand your comment, Kathryn, and welcome the criticism as much as the complement.

In fact, one of the most difficult things about writing Towards Auramala was the characterisation of Edward II. I read a great deal about him and his reign, and your blog is a wonderful source of information for writers, because you care so much about Edward and the people of his time that you give many details that straight biographers tend to neglect.

I wanted to just say a few words about the difficulties that Edward II presents as a character to interpret. Another reader commented on this post that they would like to read an Edward II novel in which he is a normal person. In my opinion, that is not true of Edward. Whoever you are, whatever genes, brain, physique, or other stuff you are made of, if you were thrust by birth into being a medieval king you could not be 'normal'... the strains and tensions and conflicting currents in your life would inevitably shape you, and change you, very often in a negative way, unfortunately. I do think that Edward did a lot more to resist the soul-distorting influence of power than most rulers. He found power less appealing than love on so many occasions, and threw himself into passtimes that greatly endear him to us today. He resisted the path that led so many into becoming simple bloodthirsty tyrants, and only fell into the trap of abusing his own power in order to avenge the destruction of love. That's a far better motive than most tyrants through history (if tyrant he was...) However, I certainly would never be able to portray him as 'normal'.

And yet I feel that I could sit down with Edward over a pint of ale, gardening tips, and perhaps play a card game with him - maybe briscola, since he spent some time in Italy. I don't feel that way about Edward I or Edward III. What strange, conflicting elements to have to come to terms with! What a daunting character to have to interpret!

Ultimately I feel that, however we imagine him, Edward II was certainly a complex, rich and fascinating individual, and represents a far worthier character to at least try to interpret than many others who have received far more favourable attention from the world of fiction. A toast - with ale, not claret, please - to Edward II!

Ivan Fowler.

Sami Parkkonen said...

@Ivan Fowler;

I said that perhaps there will be a novel where Edward II and III are just normal humanbeings.

I think Edward II was just a normal man. He loved, hated, was stupid, clever, intelligent and made big mistakes etc. In a word: he was just a man.

Granted, he was a king and his actions were seen as exceptional, what ever they were, but still: as a man he was just a man.

If being bi-sexual is seen as abnormal, then he was not "a norm", but other than that I do not see him being unnormal. Quite contrary: he seems to be TOO normal for his own good. The way he got along with ordinary people tells us that it was easy for him to talk and be in contact with mere mortals.

The nobility saw this abnormal and un-kinglike behavior, for them Edward was behaving strangely and was weird, because in their heads king was semi-heavenly creature who should not have anything to do with the people. He was not normal medieval king, but as a man he was very normal.

Jerry Bennett said...

Hi Kathryn,

Many thanks for a fascinating list of books. It will certainly start a search through the darker recesses of Amazon, as I am more likely to find something there than in my local Waterstones.

One confession though, the books that started my fascination with this period of history were Maurice Druon's "Accursed Kings" series. It must be a great many years since I first read them (when studying A level history), and I was gripped by the stories. I still have paperback copies of the first two, and they are no longer so appealing. You're right about the lack of character. Either publishers have become more demanding or I have become more discerning. I do not think they would get past an agent today. But Druon was one of two people who really sparked my interest in this era of history (the other was Andrew Harclay).

And thank you for the pointer towards the Auramala blog - absolutely fascinating.

And a final point for Kasia, you will just love Henry of Grosmont.

MRats said...

I thank you, Kathryn, for the kind word, "brilliant".

But please don't think I was pestering you for an answer. When I wrote "pedophile" it brought to mind once again the possible age discrepancy. Two years ago I read on the Internet that the first cricket match in recorded history took place between Edward and Piers. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I definitely don't want to think of them as the two founding members of NAMBLA.

Now back to books! I've nearly finished N. Gemini Sasson's "Isabeau". Needless to say, I find her typical rendition of Edward tedious, just as I do her curious obsession with the weather--which would be fine if she were a meteorologist. But I feel that I'm spending more time looking at the sky than at her characters. Nature can certainly enhance passages in a book. A perfect example would be the scene in "Gaveston" where Chris Hunt elaborately stages a breathtaking background view of Wales before Edward and Piers kiss. It's one of my two favorite moments in that novel. But when the elements are mentioned too often, they tend to lose the dramatic effect that they can bring to a particular sequence.

One last note: if you should decide to read any more of Druon's Accursed Kings series, please remember that I can only speak for the English version. I know you want to get as close as possible to original sources, which is exactly why we turn to your posts for truth and enlightenment. But to twist an old phrase, a lot could get lost in the LACK OFF A translation. The suspense, and more importantly, the humor I found in his first four books might be derived from the phrasing used by the translator.

Anonymous said...

I admire your grit wading through some of that drivel. I guess women like narrative fiction more than men, but I've never got past the front cover of any "historical novel"

Carla said...

Very comprehensive and useful list, thank you!

Kate S said...

But where is Michael Jecks??

Kathryn Warner said...

In Devon, I think?

Unknown said...

Hi Kathryn - being new to your fantastic blog, I am interested in the exhaustive list of fiction about Edward, Isabella and Piers.

Now, I may well have missed them, buy I have recently managed to get hold of "The Gascon" by John Colin Penford. Rather hard to find I think but happy to loan to you if you have any time to read it. I've had to put it at the bottom of an ever increasing pile of material, but it is an Isabella of a book - winking at me coquettishly and trying to lure me away from Seymour Phillips - but I must not weaken!! Suffice to say, the object of the book is obviously Piers and I have randomly picked a paragraph to give an idea of what to expect. It appears that Piers is not keen on Edwards plans for him to marry. It would seem that the Gascon has long held a fear of sex with women !!

....."The prospect of marriage and its imminent consummation laid bare a phobia, long suppressed, that gripped him with terror"

Interestingly, it would seem that it is not Edward that dreads the thought of "doing it!"

A quick glance at the epilogue suggest that Edward entered into a homosexual affair....blah!, blah! and was murdered with a red hot poker...blah! so,there may well be good reason why there are not many copies to be had!

Another recent find was "The Mysterious Afterlife of Edward II" by Ingrid Soren. A novel set around a young archivist gathering evidence of the reported life of the king after 1327. Tracing his steps to Italy, and in doing so happens across evidence that may well prove that Isabelle was a lovely loyal wife after all!

You may know of these Kathryn (and all readers of this blog) so ignore me if you have!!

Maud de Clifford said...

What about "World Without End"?

I enjoy your blog very much.

sandra-h said...

I wrote "Alice" and honestly don't remember making Edward a paeodophile!