The Colour of Treason by Su Harrison

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Frances Perry
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 1:34 pm
Location: West Yorkshire

The Colour of Treason by Su Harrison

Postby Frances Perry » Mon Jan 21, 2013 3:06 pm

Few books have captured my imagination over the last couple of years as the one I’m reviewing now. But perhaps I’m biased? I find the short period of history known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’ deeply complex and interesting, both for the main players in the conflicts as well as those living their everyday lives.

The Colour of Treason starts in 1469. The Battle of Towton has been and gone. Edward Earl of March is now King of England and Henry VI and his wife, Margaret of Anjou, are in exile in France. The friendship between Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, and Edward IV has soured since the clandestine marriage of Edward to Elizabeth Woodville, and Richard believes that the Woodville family are having an ill effect on the decisions of the King. There is the whisper of Treason in the air, and every man must decide which side they are on.

Into this fray we are introduced to the headstrong and wilful (yet historically fictional) Elizabeth Hardacre, daughter of the Yorkshire knight Sir Robert Hardacre. Elizabeth learns that her father has been made a captive, albeit a comfortable one to start with, at Middleham Castle by the Earl of Warwick due to his unwavering allegiance to King Edward IV. Elizabeth comes to believes that she is the only one able to petition the Earl of Warwick to release her father, and sets out on her own to reach Middleham. Elizabeth is a deeply conflicted character. She has to deal with the love she bears for her family, the loyalty of her family to the current King, and the new passions and feelings that rise during her journey. Elizabeth acts like a real person, a young and innocent woman driven by her own lust, desires and beliefs in a structured world which is deeply divided. She makes mistakes. Her decisions are often foolhardy and wild, but they are not unrealistic. And we travel through the book with her, sharing her hopes and dreams with a little mixture of excitement and sadness.

But this book is not a tale of one person only. The story swoops like a bird from one character’s shoulder to another for us to hear the thoughts and motivations of each – from Richard Neville, Edward IV, a young squire called Thomas, to a grizzled old spy loyal to Edward. We hear what makes them act within their surrounding world – the strict behavioural codes demanded by the royal courts and high society down to the thoughts and feelings of household foot soldiers. And we also learn the reactions and thought of each character to what the other does. What one man sees as Treason, is another man’s loyalty to England.

This book has kept me glued to its pages – I almost missed my station several times in the last couple of chapters - and I feel completely drawn into the period with the excellent attention to historical detail. This book has been well researched and passionately written. If you like drama, passion, and intrigue this is the book for you. I look forward to the sequel with much enthusiasm!

“In these modern times, many men are wounded for not having weapons or knowledge of their use.” Achille Marozzo, 1536

Marcus Woodhouse
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Re: The Colour of Treason by Su Harrison

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:41 pm

Thank you Francis.
I often find historical fiction to be a let down, and to be honest I have enough on my plate at the moment, but I'll keep an eye out for this.


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