The Lord of Ireland
In this, the third of the Fifth Knight series set in 1185, Powell’s focus shifts to Prince John, referred to as “Lackland” because his father, King Henry II, has not given him the titles he believes he deserves. Henry sees his opportunity to manage John’s ego and outrage by dispatching him to rebellious and seemingly uncivilized Ireland with a large army to ensure that neither the warring Irish tribes, nor an ambitious lord he does not trust, manage to wrest the island away from the British Crown. But Henry also doesn’t trust the fickle, ambitious and treacherous John, to whom he has refused a crown – so he sends along his most trusted “agents,” Sir Benedict Palmer and his wife, Theodosia (Henry’s daughter), to shadow John. In those roles, Sir Benedict accompanies the army and keeps an ever-vigilant eye on both the phlegmatic and dangerous John, and Theodosia has (for the sake of the Crown) taken the veil once again to get as close to John as possible. As it turns out, John does a lot more damage than even his own father assumed was possible. As he wreaks havoc on the island, he names himself Lord of Ireland.
What a romp! Both Benedict and Theodosia are beautifully drawn characters, and you can almost hear them breathing, walking, moving about in these pages. John is a scoundrel at best and traitor to his father at worst. It is apparent that Powell has had a veritable field day with him! The action is apace and the plot moves swiftly. As a stand-alone novel, this book more than holds its own. A great follow-up to the first two books in the series – and highly recommended.