I don’t often leave books unfinished but when I do, it is usually for one reason and one reason only:
The story was boring.
But this book wasn’t boring. No, boring was the least of my concerns. I stopped reading The Splintered Kingdom because the plot thickened so much that it was denser than my pot of homemade potato leek soup! No, really, it was. Much thicker and denser. Never mind that, the main character of the story also began to get on my nerves. I’ll give you the synopsis of the book so you know where I’m getting at.
This brilliant second novel, featuring the hero of Sworn Sword, begins in June 1069 on the war-torn Welsh Marches and ends with William the Conqueror’s brutal campaign known as the Harrying of the North.
The story begins on the Welsh Marches, where Tancred has been given land by his new lord, Robert Malet, in return for his services in the battle for York. Now a lord in his own right, he has knights of his own to command and a manor to call home. But all is far from peaceful. The Welsh are joining forces with the English against the Normans and when skirmishes turn into a full scale battle at Shrewsbury, Tancred is betrayed by a rival border lord and taken prisoner by the Welsh. Meanwhile the woman he loves is taken hostage by enemy English forces and the Vikings invade the east coast. Never has Tancred faced a more impossible situation.
Brilliant second novel, it seems. Brilliant, yes it was, but I wasn’t prepared for what met my eyes upon reading deeper and deeper into the book.
As you can see, Tancred a Dinant was the hero of Eoferwic in Sworn Sword, Book One of the Conquest trilogy written by James Aitcheson. Prior to the battle at Eoferwic to take the place back from the English rebels, he had saved his then lord, Lord Robert de Commines during the Battle of Hastings. When Lord Robert was brutally murdered by a rival English lord, Tancred had sworn his oath to a new lord, Lord Robert Malet, with the belief he would be able to seek revenge and avenge his fallen lord. If only things were that simple, eh?
After the battle at Eoferwic and the successful takeover of the place, Tancred was given land and riches, and a title, which meant that he would be known as Lord Tancred and he can now command a conroi* of his own. Now, as we all know and are familiar with, the moment you get fame and fortune, your ego expands. There are some who can remain level-headed despite the extras, but there are some who allow it to get to them and eventually cloud their thoughts and ability to make decisions. While I know this is only a story, but still, the story must be pretty good to be able to affect me like that. Brilliant second novel, indeed.
A conroi* (commonly used during the Middle Ages) is defined as a group of five to ten knights who trained and fought together.
The Splintered Kingdom, Book Two of the Conquest trilogy, began with Lord Tancred and his own conroi returning from an investigation into why the women of their village kept disappearing. At the beginning, Tancred was fine. But as the book progressed and he was eventually called once again to don his armour and ride into battle with his former lord, the son of Lord Robert Malet, as well as his friends Wace and Eudo, it gradually became obvious that he was no longer the level-headed knight who had stormed the stronghold of Eoferwic.
More often than not, he would get entangled in unnecessary brawls and squabbles with the other knights and lords, resulting in his former lord having to pull him out of the scuffles and save his sorry ass. He started to sound less of a hero and more of an idiot. He sounded like an arrogant fool, thinking he knew the answer to everything that happened. He blindly accused others of treachery. He ignored his friends’ advice and warning. I suppose heroism, riches and fame will do that to you. After all, now you see yourself as a step ahead and in charge of everyone. It was downright annoying, despite it being just a book. Thank God I wasn’t able to find the book in Border’s. I’d have bought it and found that it was a waste of money! I had found the mobi. version online for my Kindle, which means I can remove it whenever I want to.
Now I’m wondering if I should even consider getting the mobi. version for Knights of the Hawk. I can barely bring myself to complete this one, what more could I expect from Book Three? So there you go. I can now add another reason to why I stop reading certain books.
What about you? Have you ever left a book unfinished because of some reason?