Tristan & Isolde: Book One Love Is Stone

Written by R. R. Gordon
Review by Jen Black

As a stranger to the author’s writing, I was a little surprised, not to say disappointed, to reach the end of the book and discover that the hero and heroine had yet to meet. Romance readers be warned – this is not (yet) a tale of star-crossed lovers, but more an explanation of politics between four cultures, namely those of Dublin, Dyfed, Wessex and Cornwall in the Dark Ages, when the Celtic tribes were in retreat before the Saxon hordes, driven from their homeland by floods.

The tale begins with brothers Tristan and Galen beset by warring Saxons on the border between their two homelands. Tristan attacks the Saxon leader with a kitchen knife, and thus his legend begins. We then visit each of the four centres in turn and meet a bewildering number of characters, including a brief meeting with Isolde, who at this stage of the story is due to marry a man she dislikes.

The writing style is clear and easy to read, and I had no complaints about the formatting beyond noting that on my iPad there was no table of contents. The only spot bookmarked was The Beginning, which I found rather unhelpful.

The detailed dialogue concerning political decisions speaks well for the author’s research and knowledge of his subject but – and this is purely a personal thing – I found myself wishing they would get on and do something instead of talking about it. I suspect that Book Two in the series will concentrate on Tristan and Isolde, since by the last page of Book One he is on his way to Dublin.

e-book reviewed