The King Must Die
Sasson’s problematically titled latest (no matter how good the book is, does the author really want to invite explicit comparison with one of the best and most famous historical novels ever written? Why not go for broke and call the thing War and Peace?) is the sequel to Isabeau, and although it can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, it continues the story of the turbulent world of 14th-century English royal power-games. King Edward II has been deposed by his wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Sir Roger Mortimer, and after the deposed king dies in prison, his young son, the future Edward III, burns with the desire to exact some kind of revenge and come into his own birthright. Sasson’s intelligent, fast-moving prose crackles with dramatic tension (dialogue is a particular speciality), an even though the outcome of these famous events will be well known to most history buffs, the momentum of the narrative easily keeps the pages turning. This is absolutely first-rate historical fiction. Highly recommended.