Upon This Throne - Book Review

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Upon This Throne

Author: Pamela Taylor
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: December 24, 2020
ISBN-10: 1684336066
ISBN-13: 9781684336067

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GoodReads Rating:
4.82

Book Review of :  Upon This Throne



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Pamela Taylor, author of Upon This Throne, has created a masterful Volume Four in her Second Son Chronicles series. Readers of medieval adventure based on historical facts, fictional adventures, and well-fleshed out, relatable characters will find this novel engrossing. Reading Taylor is like slowing down to absorb history through entangled plots, culture of the period, and significant protagonists rather than dry textbooks.

Alfred, the second son of the Renaissance king, has survived a deadly illness similar to Covid-19 that the modern world is reckoning with today. He has also survived the devastating war initiated by his brother, King John. He deserted his army post and is considered a traitor to his country.  In addition, his wife and children have fled to safety, but he doesn’t know where they are located. As it seems that Alfred’s world is crashing down on him, he discovers his family and isolates himself with them, not knowing what is happening with the war and the Kingdom.

The setting is a fictitious northern land with the Kingdom’s castle and supporting village roughly centered in a vast plain.  Allied kingdoms, estates, and villages are scattered in the varied terrain. Weak alliances with neighboring kingdoms invite tensions and the possibility of war. The fragile society of kingdoms, the intricacies of court life, and intrigue permit the reader to become a part of the drama of the plot.

Alfred learns that his brother, King John, has been mysteriously murdered, thus placing the crown on his head. He determines “to consign John’s reign to the past” to be remembered as an object lesson. His uncle said that “people - even history, for that matter - are intrigued by a mystery that remains unsolved.”

Unresolved mysteries begin with Alfred’s coronation when his claim for the title is challenged by the mother of a child that she declares to be John’s legitimate son, thus making him heir. When faced with establishing relationships with territories and fiefdoms that have been affected by war, King Alfred prefers a strategy of making lasting peace and to develop allies in a loose confederation.
 
The mistrust and poor economy felt by the merchants during the time of war is a major concern. Alfred emphasizes restoring trade and putting people to work. Once people have work and no longer depend on the Kingdom’s coffers, then the merchants will have profits, and the treasury will increase through fair taxes.

King Alfred’s compassion and fair-mindedness is the heart of this tale. The disturbingly familiar decisions that the King must make are thought-provoking. This volume’s violence is scaled down from that of the previous volumes but that doesn’t curtail the novel’s excitement and intrigue. Upon This Throne's ultimate take-away is that a wise leader can create a better world even from chaos. 


Reviewed by: Carole W

About Pamela Taylor


Pamela Taylor brings her love of history to the art of story-telling. An avid reader of historical fact and fiction throughout her life, she finds the past offers rich sources for character, ambiance, and plot that allow readers to escape into a world totally unlike their daily lives.

"I'd tried my hand at several ideas and wasn't quite satisfied with any of them," she says. "I've always been intrigued by the importance of first sentences and first paragraphs. So when the opening of Second Son came to me, utterly unbidden, during one of those nights when one's mind won't shut down and let sleep take over, I knew I had to see where it would take me.

"Once I found Alfred's voice, his story began to unfold. By the end of the first book, I was completely in love with him and knew that he had so much more to tell.

"Step into Alfred's world. Once you do, I'm confident you'll be as eager as I've been to discover what happens next."





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