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Tales from the Gryphon

Blog postings about my classics I am reading

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Sunday 04 November
Link: The White Company

Posted early Sunday morning, November 4th, 2007

License: GPL

The White Company

I had somehow managed to miss out on The White Company while I was growing up and devouring all of Sherlock Holmes stories and The Lost World. This is a pity, since I would have like this bit of the hundred years war much better when I was young and uncritical.

Oh, I do like the book. The pacing is fast, if somewhat predictable. The book is well researched, and leads you from one historic event to the other, and is peppered with all kinds of historical figures, and I believe it to be quite authentic in it's period settings. Unfortunately, there is very little character development, and though the characters are deftly sketched, they all lack depth, which would not have bothered the young me. Also, Sir John Hawkwood, of the white company, is mentioned only briefly in passing.

This compares less favourably than Walter Scott's Quentin Durward, set in a period less than 80 years in the future. but then, I've always have had a weakness for Scott. As for Conan Doyle, the lost world was far more gripping.

I am now looking for books about Hawkwood, a mercenary captain mentioned in this book, as well as Dickson's Childe Cycle books. The only books I have found so far on the golden age of the Condottieri are so darned expensive.


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