The Conqueror

Brenda Joyce, Author Dell Publishing Company $7.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-440-20609-5
Jealousy, lust, violence and political intrigue make for surprisingly uninspired fare in Joyce's romance set in England in 1069. Rolfe of Warenne, one of William the Conqueror's valued soldiers, has been sent to suppress Saxon uprisings in the north and capture Edwin and Morcar, brothers fomenting rebellion in that area. Part of William's payment to Rolfe includes the brothers' former stronghold, Aelfgar, as a home, and their sister, Lady Alice, for a wife. Although duty compels Rolfe to marry Alice, he is captivated by a younger, illegitimatep. 51 sister, Ceidre, a bewitching, fiery woman loyal to the Saxon cause. Consumed with jealousy, Alice searches for the means to destroy her sister even as Ceidre, at the request of her rebel brothers, commences a dangerous game: luring Rolfe to her bed to gain his confidence and learn details of local Norman strategy. Although Joyce ( The Darkest Heart ) uses a few historical facts and characters as a starting point, she displays minimal knowledge of daily life in 11th-century Britain and a decided preference for cloying melodrama over political maneuvers. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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