Review: Book One of “The Brothers of Gwynedd” The Brothers of Gwynedd by Edith Pargeter
May 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first publication October 1990)
Paperback, 720 pages

“Set in 13th Century Wales at the time of the Plantagenets, The Brothers of Gwynedd is an ambitious and absorbing saga about Llewelyn, the grandson of Llewelyn the Great, enveloping readers in the guts and glory of medieval Wales. Llewelyn dreams of one Wales, united against the threat of the English. But first he must tackle enemies nearer home. His brothers vie with him for power among themselves and with the English king, Henry III, and their willful infighting threatens the very soil of their fathers. Despite the support of his beloved wife, Eleanor, Llewelyn finds himself starting down his own downfall, a tragic death he might not be able to prevent, and a country slipping out of his grasp.

Originally published as four volumes, this quartet includes Sunrise in the West, The Dragon at Noonday, The Hounds of Sunset, and Afterglow and Nightfall.”

Sourcebooks Summer Reading Club is off and coming to the close of Book One of Edith Pargeter’s The Brother’s Gwynedd. The Summer Reading Club is comprised of a collection of Book Bloggers who will throughout the summer review each book in the new volume. The book is now available for purchase and I encourage lovers of historical fiction to follow along with us this summer. In addition to regular reviews of each book, we will also have a chat for each book hosted by one of our fabulous participating Book Bloggers.

Chat for Book One will be hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past on Monday, May 24 from 7pm-9pm EST.

Book One: Sunrise in the West of The Brothers of Gwynedd

It’s been awhile since I have really sunk my teeth into any real historical fiction I must admit. While I truly enjoy it recently I have been required to do lighter reading and later period historical fiction. However I was a little hesitant when I received this new collection in the mail. It’s size scared me…at over 700 pages it’s quite the tome even in paperback. When I began reading I also got a little nervous because it soon became clear this would be no easy read. Period dialect, names I could not imagine how to pronounce and an England so far before my “comfort” zone were all things I was a little nervous about contending with….

However I must say the language of the book is spot on and therefore about 13th century in nature (not something one can peruse easily). Still once I settled in and began to to try and keep track of the characters and what was happening I found the story taking on its own life and I settled in quite nicely. Our narrator Samson is wonderfully chosen. As a member of the Royal household and yet not Royal himself, he is well selected to bear witness. Samson is part of the story and yet not so we receive his view but also everything important to the book itself and the main characters. While this is not going to be a beach read so far I am very intrigued by Book One and ready to continue.

Sunrise in the West is definitely a stage setter for the rest of the books. We get background, family histories and meet our main players. The history of England and Wales is not something I know much about for this period and historically this book seems to be extremely accurate and so I am enjoying learning as I am swept up in the saga of the story. I look forward to Book Two: The Dragon at Noonday and hope you will join us in our reading.

Summer Reading Club Review Schedule for Book One

May 17 Reviews
The Burton Review
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
A Reader’s Respite
History Undressed
Linda Banche Blog
A Hoyden’s Look at Literature
Renee’s Reads
May 18 Reviews
Between the Pages
The Broken Teepee
Books and Coffee
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Tanzanite’s Shelf and Stuff
Passages to the Past
The Book Faery
A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
Martha’s Bookshelf
May 19 Reviews
Beth Fish
Deb’s Book Bag
Book Tumbling
A Work in Progress
Stiletto Storytime
Queen of Happy Endings
May 20 Reviews
The Literate Housewife
Reading Adventures
Books Like Breathing
Kailana’s Written World
Confessions of a Muse in the Fog
Wendy’s Minding Spot
Mrs. Q Book Addict
The Life and Lies of a Flying Inanimate Object
Starting Fresh
May 21 Reviews
Loving Heart Mommy
Peeking Between the Pages
Celtic Lady’s Ramblings
One Literature Nut
The Book Tree
My Reading Room
May 23 Reviews
Carla Nayland’s Blog


Filed under Adult Books, Events, historical fiction, New Books

5 responses to “Review: Book One of “The Brothers of Gwynedd”

  1. 700 pages?

    I haven’t read one of those in ages. I keep wanting to take a stab at Bolano’s 2666 but it’s another one of those huge books….too many books, so little time.

    This sounds like a great read though. Great review too.

  2. stilettostorytime

    So far I am really enjoying it…it’s nice that the Club has our reviews spaced over the summer as well…makes it less overwhelming!

  3. Your love and commitment to books is a wonderful thing. Thanks for keeping books alive and discussed.

  4. Definitely not a beach read but it is interesting! I’m enjoying the history too.

  5. It’s good to see that you were able to settle in with the book once you got used to the dialogue and language. I hope you continue to enjoy it.

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