Housecarl by :Laurence J Brown

A must read for fans of Harold II - 5 stars

This story of Harold II and the Battle of Hastings is told from the perspective of one of the king's housecarls (fighting men with sworn loyalty to the king to fight for him till their deaths). Ranulf has spent his life fighting and most of the book deals with the nature of the housecarl position in 11th century England. A tiny bit of romance is added to the story, but only to the effect that it humanized Ranulf. He has sworn to fight to the death - but now has someone else for whom to live. Other housecarls are also introduced - each with a personal story that, again, humanizes the men behind the shield wall. So many books and movies have amazing battle scenes. You watch the "many" fight and die but the story hinges almost exclusively around one key figure and it's his life or death that one else really matters. Laurence Brown has given you characters (however fictional) that help you to grasp the battle from the perspective of the fighting man. Naturally, you get a great deal of story dealing with Harold, William, Edith and all of the 1066 regulars. One noticeable absence was Aldith (his legally wedded queen). I enjoyed the deletion from the story. I think that the love triangle often overshadows the true leader and military tactician that was King Harold II of England.

An Amazon customer from Minnesota