The King’s Dogge
This is the story of Francis Lovell, a squire to a lord in the Lancastrian faction in the Wars of the Roses, who became a loyal supporter of the future King Richard III.
There is much to recommend this novel. Green has done his background research and knows his subject. His knowledge and interest in battles and battle tactics, weapons and strategy shines, and he gives the reader detailed information on the life of Francis Lovell.
However, there are problems that overshadow the narrative. The author has added annotations in the way you would with non-fiction, numbering notes that are listed at the end. As well as being out of place in a novel, many are unnecessary, as a few paragraphs after the passage concerned he will explain it perfectly adequately as part of the storyline. One or two of the notes, bizarrely, are corrections such as ‘Lovell makes a mistake with the title here.’ I assume that the author has used a primary source for this account of Lovell’s life, but does not reference it, leaving the reader somewhat perplexed.
Another issue for the novel is a lack of characterisation. Having read the book to the end, I am unable to describe any character in depth. There are no physical descriptions beyond the occasional reference to hair and eye colour. One example: Lovell’s relationship with Richard of Gloucester. We are told it is close but have not witnessed anything between the two characters within the narrative to demonstrate this.
This novel has potential. Green’s historical knowledge is excellent, but his writing style, for a novel, needs some mentoring — he needs to show the characters he has in his head and let them leap off the page. However, readers who prefer the intimate detail of fact over fiction will probably enjoy the read.