The Conqueror

The Conqueror

by Georgette Heyer

A fictionalized biography, fast-moving and minutely-wrought chronicle about William, Duke of Normandy who became King of England in 1066.The day she gave birth to William, the beautiful Herleva dreamt that a tree sprang from her womb--a giant among trees, whose mighty branches overshadowed all of Normandy and England.

William the Conqueror sails to Hastings to claim the Saxon Kings crown and sceptre for his own.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Historical
  • Rating: 3.37
  • Publish Date: March 1st 1985 by Bantam Books
  • Isbn10: 0553084739
  • Isbn13: 9780553084733

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As I said above, there is romance a less than PC one between William & Matilda - I worry that some of the violence may have reflected GH's own views- & a more tender one between fictional characters Raoul & Elfrida.

The Conqueror is one of six historical novels written by Georgette Heyer, who is best known for her Regency Romances, and if this is an indication of the other five - then sign me up! Raoul began his service to the Duke as a young knight and he quickly rose to be one of William's most trusted friends. Raoul may not have agreed with a lot of the tactics used by William, but he trusted and respected his lord enough to comply. I know I'm a total dork, but it's true - I've learned so much history through all the historical fiction novels I have read.

History tells us that William of Normandy was born a bastard, held off multiple assassination attempts, became Duke of Normandy, repelled the French and invaded England to become it's King. This is the same story that Georgette Heyer tells here only it is told very thrillingly indeed. She begins her story with the birth of William and a prophetic dream of his mother who foresees him as a great tree spreading it's branches over both England and Normandy. Raoul is an idealistic youth who is sure that William will bring peace and prosperity to Normandy. Heyer used french derivations, archaic words and even the archaic meanings of common words to really create a sense of time and place. One passage for a banquet reads: "Gisela began to eat of a Lombardy leach, flourished and served with a sober-sauce, but she did not eat much of it because her quick eye had observed all manner of delicate dishes on the board, and she meant to taste as many as she was able. History has by all accounts noted that the marriage of Williams and his wife Matilda was a strong, fruitful and loving one. Loved this book and am now looking to read more Heyer historicals.

Undoubtedly there are much better books describing the Battle of Hastings.

Whether or not that love will survive the Norman conquest adds poignancy to the novel.

if you expect from this novel that kind of witty, funny stories like you can find in her Regency romances. 2. if you believe in some descriptions of the book which suggest that it is mostly a historical romance. If you expect a great historical fiction you will not be disappointed. I think that Heyer should have written more historical fiction books. I love Raoul and Edgar and their history, their friendship. I am grateful to Heyer for a wonderful time with her book (but I am also a little sad because I have only her one historical fiction to read: My Lord John)

The book starts with imagining the life of William's mother, Herleva, in the tannery town of Falaise. Nobosy knows if William's mother was named Herleva for a fact; nobody knows when he was born; nobody knows much about Falaise and its townspeople; so QUIT PRETENDING WE DO! It's a good question, but one I think the bygone writers always answered wrong, giving the men and women who came before us the silly faux gravitas of Formal Speech) which makes Every Utterance A Statement, instead of giving a character a voice we can accept and believe in.

I do feel that I have more of a grasp on where and how William the Conqueror happened, and I'm always very interested in British and European history, but will probably stick to Heyer's more romantic, less history-as-info-dump novels in the future.

Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year. Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.