Friday, July 11, 2014

Defending The City Of God

Born around 1105, Melisandre becomes the first Queen of Jerusalem. The treaties that she and her family make with the various warring factions are all at risk. She must try to keep her city during the violence of the first crusades. Exploring political intrigues, women's roles, and dynastic conflicts Newman looks at the early crusades from a different perspective.

I won a copy of this book from the LibraryThing Early Review Program*. I was curious about Melisandre, and was excited to learn more about her. Unfortunately, when I finished the book I still felt as though I knew little about her. A lot of the book was not about Melisandre as there are a lack of sources about her. This lack, made definite statements impossible for much of what the author wanted to say about Melisendre. Consequently, there was a lot of assumptions and guesswork in this book. I lost track of how many times it was stated "we cannot know for sure" which was followed by "I guess this is what happened". I appreciate that the author was clear about their guesswork, but I do not think the material was there for the book they were trying to write. Perhaps a historical fiction book would have worked better.

I also thought the material could have been presented in a clearer way. The biography included a lot of information about Melisandre's family. I think only around half of the book was directly focused on her. This made the book seem very cluttered, and made it difficult to follow at some points.

There was a lot of information about the crusades, so people who like reading about the crusades might find it more interesting. I would recommend reading a different book about Melisandre.

LibraryThing does not require a review of the books won in their program. If a winner is inclined to review a book, a positive or negative review is not stipulated, only an honest review. Winning this book does not change my review. It merely provides me with the chance to read the book sooner than I would have been able to, or to read a book I might not have heard about otherwise.

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