Lord of the Sea Castle
Lord of the Sea Castle is the second in Ruadh Butler’s Invader series. Set in 12th-century Wales and Ireland, it is the story of Raymond de Carew’s journey to Ireland to prepare for an invasion by his master, the Norman Richard de Clere. Raymond’s men build a fortification on the coast near Waterford (the “sea castle” of the title), but find themselves under attack from different Irish factions. Much of the action of the book consists of battles, described in all their gory detail.
I must confess that I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. It was sometimes confusing, as I found it difficult to untangle the characters, their allegiances and motives (of course, this might just be a reflection of the uncertainties of the Middle Ages). More importantly, I didn’t find it particularly well written, and I was irritated by linguistic anachronisms such as referring to a young man as a “teen”. And I didn’t find the character of Alice of Abergavenny convincing: I feel that such an aggressively assertive woman would not have fared well in medieval times. However, the author has a good grasp of medieval politics and warfare, and the book is perfectly readable. Recommended for anyone who enjoys a good battle.