After reading the first historical fiction book written by Matthew Lewis, Loyalty I was very excited to read the next instalment, Honour. I was expecting something similar to the first book – an engrossing story, well rounded characters and interesting relationships and clearly well researched. In many ways this is way I got - the story was totally involving and I could not put it down, the relationships that develop between the characters are well portrayed and I found Lewis’s dialogue some of the best I have ever read. Often in fiction – particularly when you are looking back in this way the dialogue between characters becomes forced and is often used purely to move the story on – I never found this in Honour.
Loyalty finished with Richard III’s defeat at Bosworth and this book picks up there with the reign of Henry VII. However, rather then giving us the Tudor perspective the reader is given the viewpoint of those who supported Richard III and of Hans Holbein looking back from the court of Henry VIII. I really enjoyed this time shift as it acts as a constant reminder to the reader of what the Tudor’s achieved and also of the affect one period of history has on the next.
What I hadn’t expected from the book, and for me the it’s biggest pleasure, was how it bought history alive. Without giving any spoilers this is a book that continually challenges you to think ‘could this have happened?’, ‘Does this really fit with what we know?’ and probably the most important question of all ‘How much of what we think we know is true?’ I fond myself continually engaging with the book in this way – and it has made me want to go back to my history books.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good read or anyone interested in this period of history – I very much enjoyed the story and the challenge !