Defiant unto Death is historical fiction at its best
This is a thrilling, fast-moving, engaging tale, with unexpected twists, beautiful prose, excellent characterisation and dialogue, human sentiment and motivation, and graphic descriptions of war. It is packed with historical details from country and city life, siege warfare, battles and a woman’s lot as well as a soldier’s. The reader is utterly convinced by the medieval world in this stunning work. Placing gentlewomen such as Blanche or Christiana, noble Norman wives, into war-torn scenarios takes them out of the castle without compromising medieval sentiment. Gilman’s detail, even in reference to embroidery, is astonishing. Nor does he forget the lepers, the poor and city tradeswomen. I am reminded of great books such as those of Zoe Oldenbourg. And, move over Bernard Cornwell!
Defiant unto Death is historical fiction at its best, a Pandora’s Box of a novel, a great novel which comes highly recommended.