Official Review: 1066 What Fates Impose by G K Holloway

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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kislany
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Latest Review: 1066 What Fates Impose by G K Holloway

Official Review: 1066 What Fates Impose by G K Holloway

Post by kislany » 14 May 2018, 13:27

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "1066 What Fates Impose" by G K Holloway.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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1066 What Fates Impose by G K Holloway is a historical fiction story that highlights a particular disturbing time in the history of England which culminated with the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

In a rather unusual move, the author starts the book with the end where we witness William the Conqueror’s last few moments. We also get a few glimpses into his mind and his many regrets about some important decisions he took in his life. Next, the story moves to some four years before 1066, when Edward the Confessor was king and Harold was just starting his political journey that would end (as all historical books point out) with his death during the Battle of Hastings.

People who have taken English history classes in school are familiar with the main events in the book. Still, the author gave an interesting fictionalized account of the main protagonists’ lives during those four years, which made for an engaging read.

The author keeps to the historical records quite closely, while adding his own flair when it comes to the day-to-day activities of kings and everyone else who impacted history in any way. We’ve learned in school that Edward had no children, so he had no heirs to succeed him as king. The historical details of Edward and Edith’s marriage are quite sketchy, so I enjoyed reading the re-imagined story of their life together and their worry about an heir.

As for the Battle of Hastings, I knew how it ended, and I also knew about Harold’s error in judgment, which ultimately cost him not only the throne but also his life. Nevertheless, I read the book with trepidation, eagerly awaiting the author’s take on the events. I have to hand it to Mr. Holloway; he even weaved the Halley’s Comet into the story. Based on historical accounts, in the year 1066 the comet had its most famous appearance on Earth. Due to the comet being believed to be an omen, many important decisions were taken that year that would change England’s fate forever.

Although this book, at some 700 pages, is quite long, it is a wonderful tale about a part of European history that shaped England and the whole of Europe to become what it is today. It is not an action-packed story. There is a lot of court drama, intrigue and scheming, and the whole book works its way up to the fateful Hastings. This is where the action really is. This is not to say that the book was boring. If you like historical novels, this will grab you and won’t let you go until the last page.

For a debut novel by an indie author, the writing was well-crafted and solid. The writer used easy words that were effortless to read and comprehend. The story was fluid, and the book made for a smooth read. Apart from a handful or two of grammatical and punctuation errors, there is not a lot I can criticize about its presentation.

Each character was well fleshed-out, and the tale went deep into their lives while never forgetting that the story is based on real facts. The book often read more like historical non-fiction than a fictionalized account; it all seemed so real.

Having said that, I did find a small flaw in the book: too many of the pages were full of political intrigue. At some point, it became overwhelming. However, it is very easy to see how the author did his extensive research for writing it. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of every single event in the story, but at least the main points that I already knew from before were well retold.

Overall, I enjoyed 1066 What Fates Impose and, despite its small flaws, I give it a well-deserved rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I can recommend it to every history buff and all readers who enjoy fictionalized historical accounts. Do note, however, that there are a couple of vividly described scenes including acts of torture, rape, and murder. I found one of them, involving a poker and some tar, so disturbing that I had to stop reading for a bit to banish those images from my mind. If you don’t mind some explicit moments like these, then you’ll thoroughly enjoy this book.

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Laura Ungureanu
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Post by Laura Ungureanu » 16 May 2018, 07:45

Amazing book. I am not from US, so I didn't learn about the battle of Hastings. I am curious actually. I like that the comet shows up, making the book really well searched. Thank you for this nice review!

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Post by teacherjh » 16 May 2018, 10:57

This is not my preferred genre, but you did an amazing job reviewing it. Thanks.

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Post by Sharon serena » 16 May 2018, 11:30

Coming from a different country, I did not have the chance of learning about England's political history. Still, I find the book very interesting as the author has based the story following each historical events that took place during the battle of the Hastings in 1066.I find the book quite informative as it also touches on the negative effects of war as illustrated in your review and I believe that the book will come in handy to those doing historical studies. The book is definitely a good read. Nice review!

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Post by Libs_Books » 16 May 2018, 12:31

This sounds like a must-read for me - you can't have too much political intrigue fr my tastes (though I may come to agree with you after reading it). Thanks for the recommendation and a great review.

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Post by SamSim » 16 May 2018, 12:53

I appreciate your thorough review. Your description of the book made me want to read it up until the warning about some disturbing, graphic scenes. I am prone to nightmares and sensitive to things like that, so I appreciate reviews with warnings about content. I love well-researched historical fiction, though.

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Post by bb587 » 16 May 2018, 15:10

I love seeing history coming to life like this. We know how it ends, but still the anticipation grows. I like how the author mixes in what could-have with what did. Thanks for the review!

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Post by gen_g » 16 May 2018, 23:10

Thank you for your detailed review! I have to say, I love history books like this, and your review certainly made it very intriguing! I would have to put this on my to-read list.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 May 2018, 02:33

I know close to nothing about the history of England. I can't even say I know my country's history by heart. And I am scared of long books; 700 pages is a nightmare for me. On those two counts, I don't think this book and I will meet anytime soon.

I am impressed with the rating, though. It is curious that in hindsight, we can connect events of the past (Haley's with Hastings, for instance) and think, why not?

Great job, Kislany!

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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 17 May 2018, 09:03

I love historical fiction and have a soft spot for English history, so I'm definitely putting this on my to-read list! Your review has intrigued me, and I'm so tempted to pick up a copy now XD

Thank you for your thorough critique of this book--I found it really helpful! :)

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