Revolt by Clara Dupont - Monod
Published : August 6th 2020
Publisher : Quercus
Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback
Genre : Historical Fiction
The Kingdom of France, 1173. A remarkable queen rallies her sons against a tyrannical king – their father.
Richard Lionheart tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1173, she and three of her sons instigate a rebellion to overthrow the English king, her husband Henry Plantagenet. What prompts this revolt? How does a great queen persuade her children to rise up against their father? And how does a son cope with this crushing conflict of loyalties?
Replete with poetry and cruelty, this story takes us to the heart of the relationship between a mother and her favourite son - two people sustained by literature, unspoken love, honour and terrible violence.
“This evening, she comes to us. Her gown caresses the floor…
What petrifies my brothers is not her indifference, for they are used to being ignored, nor the solemnity of the meeting – everything about Eleanor is solemn – no, what transfixes us, at this moment, is her voice.
For it is with a soft voice, full of menace, that my mother commands us to overthrow our father.”
I loved this story. Historical Fiction is quite high on my favourite genre and this one is up there with the best of them.
Told slightly differently than just a standard story. It recounts the times of Richard the Lionheart, as seen from his standpoint and the prism of his experiences.
Richard is telling the story from the very beginning, narrating before his birth his mothers life and what led her to the point in which she has her children.
Eleanor of Aquitaine is a huge part of this story. Married to the King of France Louis VVI at a young age she is not a woman to sit idly by and be a content life, she is the duchess of her own lands and commands that respect. She rules by the kings side for almost fifteen years before she leaves him and annuls the marriage without giving him an heir. Louis is not a match for Eleanor, he is far too smitten with her, so when she sees The Plantagenet one day on a visit to King Louis she knows she will leave her husband and take the King of England as her husband as she can see this man will be her equal. Eleanor gives eight children to the king but doesn't get the life she expects of ruling by his side, during her first pregnancy she gets sidelined and forced to play the dutiful wife whilst he takes her lands and ruins them. She is watched constantly and only gets to make some decisions when The Plantagenet has to go abroad and leaves her somewhat in charge as the royal head.
Richard is her third son. He idolises his mother, she is a fierce woman and he will do anything for her, so when she tells her children to rise up and revolt against their father he doesn't give it a second thought. His father is a mean tyrant who favours their younger brother John.
Her advice came back to me: "Kill or let live, but never wound, for a wounded animal becomes dangerous"
Throughout the book you follow Richard on his journey to avenge his mother for all his fathers torture and abuse and defeat his father. From locking away his beloved mother and queen of England as a prisoner and raping his fiancee, Richard knows he has what it takes to beat his father so with the help of two of his brothers, who have all agreed to put aside their differences to focus on the mutual problem. De throning their father.
Those are Richards main goals in life and he does not stop.
Why I Loved It
The writing in this story is so descriptive, every page is profoundly detailed and described to such a fine point that you can see every word play out within your minds eye.
Clara Dupont Monod is an epic storyteller, catching the essence of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart so perfectly that you truly feel you connect with them on their journey.
I felt enraged with The Plantagenet and loved how the book gave me so much in its writing that these feelings were with me throughout.
Extremely atmospheric this is an epic tale of a woman who should have been a King, a defiance for justice and a sons profound love for his mother.
I HIGHLY recommend this book if you love historical fiction.
Meet the author
CLARA DUPONT-MONOD studied ancient French at the Sorbonne and began her career in journalism writing for Cosmopolitan and Marianne. Her novels often draw on medieval myths and history. They have been nominated for the Prix Goncourt and the Prix Femina, two of France's most prestigious literary awards.
She lives in Paris and has been haunted by the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine for many years.
RUTH DIVER is the translator of Adélaïde Bon’s acclaimed memoir The Little Girl on the Ice Floe. She is an academic and lecturer, based in New Zealand and Paris.
Claire's Similar reads
Death's Head by Robert Broomall book one
Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick
I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review, if you have read this book why not drop me a line telling me your thoughts?