Richard the Lionheart is a legend of the twelfth century. To us in the 21st century, he is an epic warrior king that we probably most often hear of in the Robin Hood legend as the King who is off fighting in the Crusades while his evil brother, Prince John, plots against him. The King’s Witch tells the story of what exactly happened during the crusades while England was left in the clutches of Prince John.
Edythe is a young Jewess that has been rescued by Queen Eleanor and sent to King Richard the Lionheart and his sister Queen Johanna of Sicily while they are off fighting the Crusade. Edythe has a mysterious past and a gift for healing. This gift leads her to be labeled as a witch. At first Edythe is thought to be a spy for Queen Eleanor, but soon her gifts of healing and of being a good listener lead her to become close with both Richard and Johanna. She is also drawn to the mysterious knight, Rouquin. Rouquin is a tall, powerful redheaded knight that is also the right-hand man of Richard. Rouquin and Edythe both find themselves powerfully attracted to one another. They both understand what it is like to be on the outside looking in.
The King’s Witch is an interesting look into the power struggle that was the crusades in the Middle East. It was quite the complex conflict, which leads to the downside of this book, sometimes the details of the various characters and conflicts got to be a little on the dry side. The positive of this novel was the relationship between Edythe and Rouquin. They had great chemistry together, and they both had compelling back stories. I really enjoyed reading about Edythe’s struggle with her identity and her search for her Jewish heritage.
Overall, The King’s Witch is an interesting historical fiction novel about the crusade, King Richard, his sister Queen Johanna, and about living the life of a Jewish woman in a Christian world.
The King’s Witch is my thirteenth item (coincidental number for a book with witch in the title?) for The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011.
Author Cecelia Holland has a great guest blog about Eleanor of Aquitaine located at this link. Leave a comment at that link for a chance to win one of two copies of The King’s Witch.
Book Source: Review Copy from Penguin Group. Thank-you!