Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Book Review - In A Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S Haasse

I have been re-reading this wonderful book lately, and it reminded me what a quality historical novel looks like. It is the story of Charles, Duke of Orleans, literally from his birth to his death. The Orleans presented here is scarcely a conventional hero at all, and has some pretty obvious character faults, and yet he's somehow endearing and fascinating as well as a real human being.

Historical accuracy is generally very good - a couple of English titles are wrong, but apart from that nothing leapt out. (There are also a few cases of what I suspect to be dodgy translation - the book was originally written in Dutch.)

It's interesting to read of Agincourt from a French point of view, and the descriptions of the extraordinary 'court' of Charles VI are quite wonderful and, I suspect, close to reality.

I cannot praise this book too highly, and if you are at all interested in reading about the fifteenth century from a French viewpoint this novel cannot be bettered.