The Leopards of Normandy: Duke

Written by David Churchill
Review by Mike Ashworth

Book 2 of the Leopards of Normandy trilogy opens in 1037. William, Duke of Normandy, is nine years old. William’s guardian, Robert, Archbishop of Rouen, had died immediately before this story begins. He uses his will to set up guardians for William in the hope that they will protect him from the many potential claimants to the Dukedom. As the book progresses, Williams’ guardians and supporters are killed, or die in mysterious circumstances.  Across the Channel, Godwin, Earl of Wessex, continues to use his position and influence to act as Kingmaker, promoting his and his families interests, influencing and controlling the throne of England.

David Churchill’s research is impeccable, and he brings alive in a dynamic and exciting way the vicious, deadly world of this period of both Norman and English life. The interesting mixture of fictional and historical characters makes this a fine example of historical fiction based on actual events. I raced through the book, finished it with a sigh, and then read it again. Definitely one to keep. I am impatiently waiting for the third part of the trilogy. Highly recommended.