Tuesday, June 4, 2013

HFVBT: Review--Of Fathers and Sons by Evan Ostryzniuk

My thoughts:
Evan Ostryzniuk has written a meticulously researched book of historical fiction. Not only has he done this, but he has given us characters that we can really care about. Niccolo of Este is probably one of the most endearing characters I've read and it was interesting for me to learn about the Italian house of Este. And Geoffrey is also a great character. Putting these two together in the story is storytelling at its finest.

As I've said previously, what I think is important about historical fiction is the introduction of historical  events/people that we might not have otherwise encountered. It leads us (or, at least, me) to the further investigation of these events/people in history. In my opinion, historical fiction makes us amateur scholars of history as we actively seek further information. Ostyzniuk has written an inspiring book in this avenue. I can't wait to go back and read the first book (the author has generously supplied me with a copy), Of Faith and Fidelity, and I look forward to the future books in the series.

About the book:
Publication Date: March 6, 2013
Knox Robinson Publishing
Hardcover; 330p
ISBN-10: 1908483156

Of Fathers & Sons is the second book in the English Free Company series set in the late Middle Ages. The English Free Company is led by Geoffrey Hotspur, an orphan-squire and ward of the mighty Duke of Lancaster, whose driving ambition is to become a knight and serve a great lord. Anyone who enjoys the stories of Bernard Cornwall and Jan Guillou will find more than an echo of their exuberant prose and lively characters in Of Fathers & Sons: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Este Inheritance. Supported with extensive research done by a professional historian, Of Fathers & Sons utilizes true personages and events to weave a vivid tapestry of this exciting time of transition.

Of Fathers & Sons: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Este Inheritance takes place in 1395 when the conflict between rival branches of the mighty Este family over the succession to the strategic Marquisate of Ferrara reaches its climax. The Este lands are vulnerable. The unexpected death of the powerful Marquis Alberto d'Este in 1393 has left his ten-year old son, Niccolo, as his sole direct heir. Though born out of wedlock, the pope himself legitimized the boy’s birth, but in an age when great lords ruled by the sword as much as by the laws of inheritance, having a boy lead the family can be a sign of weakness.

Made unhappy by the father, several Este vassals want to humble the son, and they see their opportunity in the essential weakness of Niccolo’s minority rule. Championing their cause is the head of a humiliated branch of the Este family who is not only a famous condottiere, but also a powerful captain of the ambitious lord of Milan. Fearing that civil war will lead to a shift in the already fragile balance of power in favor of the hated Milan, the city-states of Florence, Venice and Bologna combine to keep the Este inheritance in Niccolo’s hands. If Niccolo falls, the great powers of Italy will be plunged in to war.

Geoffrey and Niccolo are confronted by the same questions: How can an orphan find his place in a society informed by patriarchal relations? For how long must a son honor the wishes of his father? When does the boy become the man?

Before Henry won his miraculous victory at Agincourt, before the Borgias became infamous, before Constantinople fell to the Turks, there was Geoffrey Hotspur, a man as tall as Charlemagne and armed with a sword that rivaled Excalibur. With little money, fewer friends and no name, Geoffrey Hotspur has little choice but to forge his own path towards knighthood.

A thrilling continuation of the story of Geoffrey Hotspur and his English Free Company, Of Fathers & Sons: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Este Inheritance is at heart a squire’s tale of hope, adventure and ambition in a time of great uncertainty.

About the author:
Evan Ostryzniuk was born and raised on the prairies of western Canada. After graduating from the University of Saskatchewan with a B.A. in History and Modern Languages and an M.A. in Modern History, Evan crossed the ocean to do post-graduate work at the University of Cambridge, concluding four years of research with a doctoral thesis on the Russian Revolution. He then found his way to Eastern Europe, where he took up positions as a magazine editor, university lecturer and analyst in the financial services sector before rising in the ranks of the local publishing industry to become Editor-in-Chief of a popular weekly.

Evan Ostryzniuk currently resides in Kyiv, Ukraine near a very large candy factory. He has travelled extensively, including the locations of his novels. Of Fathers and Sons: Geoffrey Hotspur and the Este Inheritance is his second novel.


Visit other blogs on the tour--Tour Schedule
Twitter Hashtag: #FathersAndSonsTour

Be sure to check out the author's guest post and enter the giveaway for a copy of Of Fathers and Sons HERE.


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