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Topic: February BOM Discussion - Prologue - Part 1,

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Subject: February BOM Discussion - Prologue - Part 1,
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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This covers the Prologue through Chapter 5. 

I wish I could've found some discussion questions or a reading guide, but I wasn't able too.  Not even Empress Valli with her Historical Fiction Super Powers could find such a thing!  We're on our own!

WARNING:  The discussions in the threads have gotten pretty detailed already and there are spoilers!  I caution you not to read a discussion thread until you've finished with the section of the book that it pertains to! 



Last Edited on: 2/4/09 10:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 8:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Okay, guys.  I started reading this a week or two ago. I'm just about finished with Part 2.  Beware, if you haven't finished Part 1, you may not want to read any farther into my post!  I won't say much about Part 2. 

My thoughts?  The book didn't reach out and grab me right away - except to feel a deep sense of pity for Dorcas/Campion.  Aack, what a terrible life for her!   Toward the end of Part 1, I found it getting more interesting, and I have really enjoyed Part 2.  So, if the book isn't turning your crank right away, I encourage you to keep at it.  By the end of Part 1, I was very intrigued by the mystery of the "Covenant."  Anyone have any ideas on what it involves?  All I know is that I'm relatively certain that Matthew Slythe is NOT Campion's biological father.  This girl was definitely placed in the care of the Slythes as some part of the Covenant.  The question is, where does she come from?    You get a bit more explanation of what the Covenant might be in Part 2, but considering the source of the information (a decidedly nefarious character), you're not really sure if there's any truth to what he's saying. 

For those of you worried that this would be more of a "romance" novel than a good ol' HF yarn, have no fear.  The two main characters are indeed in love, but it is far from the focus of the story. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2009 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
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A reader's guide? We don't need no stinkin' reader's guides! Bah!

I started the book Friday, and I'm already about halfway through it. I'm really enjoying it. It's shaping up to be a rip-roaring adventure/love story.

Bernard Cornwell doesn't think much of Puritans, does he? ;-)

What does everyone else think of the author's always using "Campion" for the protagonist's name once she encounters Toby at the stream? I noticed her given name is never used except by other characters or when she tells someone her "real" name. I think Cornwell & Kells were trying to indicate Campion always had a person inside her much different from the outwardly pious, Puritan maid seen by others. She yearned to give her true self a voice and began to find that voice by the stream with Toby. She was able to finally give a name to her true self and to express it to others. Thoughts?

I really liked the writing style in this section. Through their writing style, Cornwell/Kells poked fun at the Puritan characters who ruled Campion's life with such an iron fist. They made these people, who she found so frightening, ridiculous. All the "Amen's" and "praise the Lord's" at inappropriate times (rolling eyes). It was like the authors were letting the reader know, "Don't pay too much attention to these people's rantings. They are pompous windbags."

Samuel Scammel - now there's a brilliant character name! You get a sense of what he's all about from the name alone - wimpy, easily led, rather pathetic. Who would want to marry a man named "Samuel Scammel"? Shudder.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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Felicia - Great thoughts!  Thanks for sharing them. I too noticed that immediately BC/Kells started referring to Dorcas/Campion as Campion only (except when called "Doracs" (Lord, what an awful name) by some of the other characters).  I think your thoughts on this are dead on, although I suspect that we may discover that Campion's name isn't really Dorcas either.  I'm so curious as to where she comes from.  I'm betting  she was born to a much higher station in life. 

No, I don't think BC thinks much of the Puritans. I find it amusing that ALL of the Puritan characters are not only endowed with awful character traits, they are all unattractive.  Apparently Campion was the only good looking Puritan to be found in England!  LOL!  From reading the Saxon Chronicals, I'm pretty sure BC doesn't think much of organized religion in general!  I believe in the discussion for the The Last Kingdom  BOM, it was brought up that BC was raised in a very strange religion.  Maybe someone else can recall the details of that discussion.  It explains why BC doesn't create sympathetic religious characters.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
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Shelley, now that you mention it, I think all the villains in the book are ugly. I can't think of a good-looking one in the bunch! It's somewhat cliche, I suppose, but it works for this story. Parts of it remind me of those old melodramas where the audience would boo and hiss at the villains and cheer the heroes. (But the book is much better written than most of those melodramas!)

A couple of months ago, I discovered a short piece by Bernard Cornwell is available on Amazon, called "Growing Up Peculiar." It's about his childhood growing up in an oppressive religious sect. http://www.amazon.com/Growing-Up-Peculiar/dp/B000EJ9SJG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233595587&sr=1-1  I was thinking of buying it to read after I finish A Crowning Mercy. It would be interesting to get more insight into his attitudes toward religion.

Later in the story, religious fanaticism takes center stage. The Cornwells are, in a sense, setting up a thematic struggle between a God of love and happiness and a God of violence and punishment. Campion clings to her belief in God as benevolent and loving even as she is made to suffer by those who believe in a God of wrath.

 

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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I like this book as well; I'm nearly finished with it.  I thought all along that Campion/Dorcas had to have a different father especially given the book's prologue.  Cornwell has no love of Puritans or most forms of organized religion it seems!  I too thought of his piece on Amazon and wondered how much of Dorcas' youth and how she was treated was a reflection of the author's own life as a child.  The book does seem more like a swashbuckling adventure than a romance but I really like the two young people and hope for the best for them.  I would really love to know the backstories behind the seals and the covenant.

 

I loved the fact that "Campion" is how she thinks of herself and she doesn't relate to the Dorcas name (you're right, Shelley- what a horror).  I also loved the fact that Toby "names" her- more on that later in the story!



Last Edited on: 2/2/09 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/4/2009 7:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
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I went to the library on the way home from work to pick this up, and I'm about halfway through Part 2 right now.  I've found it really easy to get into so far.  Agree with everyone's observations about Campion's name and about her upbringing.  As Cheryl points out, given the prologue it's pretty clear that Slythe is not her real father.

All I could keep thinking as I read this is I am so glad I was not born a woman in those times!

Date Posted: 2/4/2009 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
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You are right on there, Michelle.  It would have been awful!

Date Posted: 2/4/2009 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I decided to sit this one out because I just don't have time to read it, but it really sounds like a book I'd love. Maybe I should try to fit it in...

Date Posted: 2/4/2009 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
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I hate to say it, Vali, but you'd be crazy not to read this book.  LOL! 

Date Posted: 2/5/2009 7:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
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Valli - I wasn't going to read it either, because I have so many other books to read and all of a sudden it's very busy at work.  But it's been a really quick read so far.  I've only had about an hour and a half each of the last 2 nights to read and I'm already through half the book.

Date Posted: 2/7/2009 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I'm about 100 pages into it (so just into part 2) and I agree so far with all that has been said. I need to Google what a Campion flower is, though.

And, actually the name Dorcas doesn't bother me.