Friday, February 26, 2010

The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter

I have actually been waiting a long time to write this post; as a matter of fact, I first found this tome by Edith Pargeter at the library last year, and I have been working my way through it inch by inch like a bookworm. Truth is, it is a fantastic collection, but like the writings of Dorothy Dunnett or Sharon Kay Penman, I had to move slowly to give it thoughtful, careful attention to fully enjoy its richness.

I'm certainly not going to try to critique her writing or even give it a review --let's just say that it is a work that anyone who enjoys rich, vivid, sweeping melodramatic historicals would enjoy, so I'm sharing this treasure that is a true gem.

The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Edith Pargeter collection of works: The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch, and The Scarlet Seed.

"Set on the volatile, hotly disputed Welsh border, this full-bodied, swift-moving story of deadly politics, clashing armies, and private passions sweeps the reader into its characters' grand quest for justice and vengeance. The trilogy focuses on Harry Talvace, who bears stamped on his face the lineage of Shrewsbury's Norman conquerors. Born to aristocratic parents and nursed by a stone mason's wife, he grows up fiercely loyal to his breast-brother, the sunny, irresistibly charming Adam. Harry also discovers that he has a gift--the ability to carve stone with the sure hand of genius.

In his fifteenth year, Harry's devotion to Adam and his obsession to sculpt set into motion the thrilling tale of The Heaven Tree. Rebelling against his father and fleeing England to save Adam, Harry finds his destiny entangled in the affairs of commoners and kings, divided by two women -- the courageous dark-haired Gilleis and the beautiful courtesan Benedetta--and pledged to the brooding, mysterious Lord of Parfois, Ralf Isambard, who sponsors Harry's monumental creation of a cathedral.
And while Wales and France challenge England's crown, these men and women follow their desires toward jealously, pitiless revenge, and passion so madly glorious neither time nor a merciless execution can end it.

In Volume Two, The Green Branch, Harry's son, young Harry Talvace, is drawn into the fabulous intrigues of the court of Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, and bound by blood oath to find and kill his father's old enemy, Esambard. Yet the threads that bind his life to the ruthless Isambard are not so easily severed, as Harry falls under the spell of the aging warrior Lord.

The Scarlet Seed, Volume Three, brings full circle this tale of implacable enmity and unshakeable loyalty. As a kingdom shudders under the flames of civil war and captor becomes captive, the final siege of Parfois creates a climax to this tale so majestic, noble, and heartbreaking, no reader will ever forget it."

(from the publisher)

4.5/5 stars

There are other works by this author that I'm hoping to read sometime before I depart from this earth.....if only there will be enough time.....!

The Brothers of Gwynedd Quartet (Sunrise in the West, The Dragons at Noonday, The Hounds of Sunset, Afterglow and Nightfall) Set in Wales at the time of the
Plantagenets, this is a saga of the descendants of Llewelyn the Great

Writing under the name Ellis Peters, there is also The Brother Cadfael medieval mystery series

Title: The Heaven Tree Trilogy
Author: Edith Pargeter
Warner Books
899 pages
genre: historical fiction


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

This is a series I've been meaning to read as well, the first book is on my TBR Challenge for 2010, The Heaven Tree. I'm going to get it at my library as well. Thanks for the write up!

Joanne said...

I think you will really enjoy it, Julie. Love finding those older treasures in the library!

Kim said...

These last 3 posts all sound great. Still have the first Julia Grey book on my list. I always enjoy reading your reviews.

Joanne said...

Thanks, Kim -- I hope you enjoy Julia and Brisbane. (I love those dark, handsome men!)

~Kim said...

I just finished The Heaven Tree Trilogy and found your site by googling, "Harry Talvace." :-) LOVED the trilogy, especially the first and last books! I think I will check out some of the books you mention here! :-)

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