Sunday, 19 September 2010

Time for some Piers…….

Well, sort of. As some of my fav blogs are having a ‘books related’ theme, I thought I’d follow suit. I’ve added quite a few books to my collection in the last few weeks. I’ve had J. S. Hamilton’s ‘The Plantagenets – history of a dynasty’ for a couple of weeks. Hamilton has written his own book on Piers quite a few years ago. This time he tackles the Plantagenet kings. I’m afraid I’ve only read the chapters on Edward II (naturally!) and Richard II. Hamilton is very sympathetic to Edward from the opening paragraph. He points out the problems Edward immediately encounters – obviously being in the ‘shadow of a colossus’, his father, and inheriting a bankrupt treasury and the ‘Scotland problem’. As for Piers, he doesn’t just re-hash parts of his bio.

I liked the way that Hamilton deals with some of the chroniclers at the time. He challenges the chronicler who says that Edward instantly ‘felt so much love’ for Piers as soon as he saw him, pointing out that Piers was in Edward’s service for some 5 years before their attachment became apparent. Hamilton also challenges ‘The Ponthieu story’ – whereby Prince Edward asks his father for Ponthieu for Piers and is verbally and physically abused by his father. He claims Guisborough’s chronicle appears to be a ‘set piece’, with reference to the biblical story of Saul confronting David over his relationship with Jonathan. This confrontation allegedly was the cause of Piers’ first banishment. Hamilton rightly points out that the banishment wasn’t permanent, and the conditions were not harsh. Edward Its may have been concerned about the nature of the relationship between the prince and Piers, but the lenient sentence passed on Piers suggests he was not that worried – as we know, Prince Edward had fathered an illegitimate son.

I learned something new in the chapter on Richard II that has a connection with Piers. I must admit I know very little about the reign of Richard II, so for any Richard II scholars out there, this will be already known. After his death, Richard was buried in the Dominican friary in Langley – yes, the same resting place for Piers. Or as Hamilton puts it, ‘the same resting place of another Lancastrian victim, Piers Gaveston’. It seems he was buried in the tomb of Edmund, Duke of York and his wife, before being removed to Westminster abbey by Henry V. Can’t help wondering if Piers’ remains might have been disturbed then.

Hamilton writes in such a readable and enjoyable style, I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

This week, I also got ‘The Red Queen’ by Philippa Gregory. I admit to not being a fan of her work, but I got the book at an incredibly good price from my book club – for £4.99 it was too good to turn down. Not sure when I’ll get around to reading it though. I also got hold of a copy of Michael Hicks ‘False, Fleeting, Perjured Clarence’ – at a really good price! I’m currently reading his ‘Warwick the Kingmaker’. I really enjoy Michael Hicks books and have been after this book for some time, although I wasn’t willing to pay the extortionate price for it on Amazon. So many times I’ve been tempted, and then last week a really good price came up for an immaculate condition!

And my favourite on-line book? The Daisy and the Bear, at Ragged Staff’s excellent ‘A Neville Feast’ . Since ragged Staff moved server, I haven’t mastered posting a comment. . I LOVE it! If you haven’t already succumbed to it, try it out at -