Friday, March 3, 2017

The Grove of Eagles

The Grove of EaglesThe Grove of Eagles by Winston Graham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Winston Graham's historical novel of Elizabethan England is not his best, but is still better than most contemporary historical fiction. The male protagonist in this novel did not engage my imagination as well as other novels. Graham seems better at female characters, for whatever reason. I skimmed the third quarter of the novel, but the early part of the story and the conclusion were good reading. Plenty of historical figures including Walter Raleigh, the Earl of Essex, the Cecils, and the Howards. 3 1/2 stars.

From early in the story:

"Before I was old enough to reason I came to love the sea, to know it as an element as natural as earth. As soon as I was old enough to reason I came to fear it--not as an element but for what it could bring." the Spanish Armada. Later on, the main character becomes a secretary to Walter Raleigh. The English spell it "Ralegh" without an i. However, there was definitely an "i" in Ralegh. But that's another story.

"The environment into which Walter Ralegh took me...was a foreign to life at Arwenack as the de Prada house in Madrid. ...Doors of the mind were opened looking upon new and exciting country as vivid and as unexplored as anything in Guiana or the colony of Virginia. Here were books treating of every subject from astrology to campaigns of war, from botany to Greek history, from chemistry and experiments in alchemy to poetry and philosophical speculation. Nor were they ranged along the walls of a single room; they proliferated about the house, left open on tables and settles, dropped where they had been temporarily abandoned and where they would be most convenient picked up. Globes and maps abounded and musical instruments and paintings and busts, and old parchments and vivid tapestries..."

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