Monday, 23 October 2017

Married to a homosexual king in medieval England. Review of "Isabella, braveheart of France" by Colin Falconer

The daughter of the French king is given in marriage to the English one. But he has a boyfriend.

It must have been confusing in those days to be married off to a homosexual king as she must have not known what it was. And a mistress was just bed sport in those days when women were just a procession but a male lover who was given titles and holdings could wield real power and was seen as a danger by the nobles.

The reason mr Falconer gives at the end for the king's behaviour sounds crazy to me. Oh and mr Falconer Dordrecht is in Holland not Flanders :)
Interesting book!


When I read a book based on historical facts I always do a google search. According to popular belief the king was killed by a hot iron is his anus. Mr Falconer chooses strangling. Both methods however leave telltale evidence on the body and according to history no cause could be identified. So maybe poison or was it just the stress?

Mr Falconer lets the queen agree to the killing. That seems unlikely when you consider that 1) Her son kills Mortimer but not her. Those days were not very tolerant so if she had killed his father he would at least have locked her in a convent. Although one could argue that execution was to display power so no one would try again 2) Isabella had a very good relationship with her son and grandchildren and the daughter of Mortimer by his wife and who would let his kids socialise with a killer? 3) When she died 30 years after her husband she insisted to be buried in her cloak she wore when she came to England as Edward's wife and with Edward's heart in that box. That sounds to me as she wanted to see him in heaven. Such sign of love does not point to murder.


She was taught to obey. Now she has learned to rebel.
When Princess Isabella is offered as bride to King Edward of England, for her it’s love at first sight. But her dashing husband has a secret, one that threatens to tear their marriage—and England—apart. As Isabella navigates the deadly maelstrom of Edward’s court, her cleverness and grace allow her to subvert Edward’s ill-advised plans and gain influence. But soon the young queen is faced with an impossible choice, taking a breathtaking gamble that will forever change the course of history.
In the tradition of Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Chadwick, Isabella is the story of a queen who took control of her destiny—and the throne.

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Friday, 20 October 2017

Review of "Disappeared" - a novel about the dark days in Argentina. Written by Colin Falconer

As our then crown prince married a daughter from a minister during the Argentinian junta days I think we in The Netherlands know a lot more about that dark episode than for instance people from Poland. She became a respected and very popular queen by the way. The sins of the fathers should not be blamed on the children and at least dad was not welcome at the wedding.

The day before I started to read the book I got as a present from the writer, I met someone who was a refugee from Syria. A nice hardworking young man who told me he had saved up during 10 years working in the Emirates, had come back home, bought a home and 2 shops and started a family. And then the civil war came and all was lost.

When I started to read "Disappeared" life is similar for two friends from university in Buenos Aires in the early seventies. They find jobs, fall in love, marry and one of them, Reuben, becomes the father of twin daughters. Then the shadows start to creep into view. Communists create havoc and the military answers in kind. No one knows how to be safe anymore. At first it is people who did something subversive that are targetted but more and more it is just devilish evil coming out in the dark.

One night one of the wives is taken by the secret police. The neighbours and her husband are shocked. But things get even worse.

Years later both children and the father have never seen each other again. Evil has just changed names.

It is that shedding of civilisation that was shocking and so well described by the writer. The real bad guys do not see themselves as bad. They did torture less than their colleagues they both think. But also the men in the street forget their morals.

In the book the people are never safe. Even 20 years later.

Very good book. A stark reminder why human rights are so important. Our liberal party leader hates the fact that human rights treaties prevent the Netherlands from doing things and wants to get out of the treaties. You should never want to be without a human rights anchor to prevent the ship that is your state to float away and flounder on the rocks killing its passengers.


Buenos Aires, 1976. The generals take control and for rich Jewish financiers like Reuben Altman the world is coming to an end, just as it should be beginning. He has a beautiful wife who has just given him two twin baby daughters, Diana and Simone.

But the night the death squads come to his apartment, he is not there, he is with his mistress. It is a sin he will pay for, over and over again.

The man who tortures and murders his wife also takes one of his baby daughters as his own. But what happened to Diana?

Many years later, after the junta are overthrown, Reuben Altman returns to Argentine to try and unravel the secrets.

A deeply religious country with a dark and violent past, Argentine has always treated its generals with as much reverence as its priests. So it does not surprise him when his search leads him to Rome and the headquarters of the Catholic Church. In uncovering the truth he threatens men with powerful links to the international arms business and the Vatican bank itself.

But Reuben is a man looking for redemption and will stop at nothing to bring his daughters back together and uncover the most terrible secret any father can ever keep.

Colin Falconer is the international best selling author of ANASTASIA and VENOM and over two dozen other best selling novels. His books have been translated into 23 languages