Original date of publication: 1979
My edition: 1979 (Ace Books)
Why I decided to read: Recommendation from Amazon
How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, February 2010
The Lion of Mortimer is the third in a loosely connected series about the Plantagenet family, in which their story is told from the point of view of those closest to them. This Plantagenet is Edward II, and the story is told from the point of view of the Montacute family. The story takes Edward from his time as Prince of Wales up through his death, and the early part of the reign of Edward III.
At only 274 pages, the novel covers a lot of ground, and as such, it’s pretty sketchy on the details of Edward’s life. Therefore, I felt that the characters were not well developed—especially Isabella, who I feel was a much deeper person than she’s portrayed in the book. The author gets Edward’s character down pat, though Piers Gaveston is not as well developed as the other characters and Hugh Despenser gets very little onstage time. I don’t particularly care for Edward as a historical figure, but he comes across reasonably well in this book. On the other hand, this is a good book to read if you’re new to the story of the Plantagenet family, or even if you want to brush up on your history. There’s little in the way of fiction in this novel, but it gives a great backdrop to the politics of the times. However, there are better novels on Edward II out there.