Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review - The Flower of Chivalry

Sometime back over the Christmas holidays, I finished a book I had been reading in spurts over the last couple of months. The Flower of Chivalry; Bertrand du Guesclin and the Hundred Years War by Richard Vernier (2003). I enjoyed the book, being firmly engrossed in a Hundred Years War binge at the moment, courtesy of my miniatures gaming. Du Guesclin was a Breton minor noble who went on to be the Constable of France, one of the highest military offices in France.

From a wargamer's perspective, the book is not about battles and campaigns from the tabletop sense, but is a fascinating military political history that highlights the convoluted relationships between lords and masters in feudal Europe. Du Guesclin, a native of Brittany, was at times at odds with the French king (his patron) due to his roots as well as his conquered Spanish holdings. He was both a son of Brittany, a French vassal and a Spanish lord. Complicated stuff, but it paints a good picture of the life of a militarily inclined noble in the 1300's, and what chivalry was really like, for better or worse. Not for the casual reader or a wargamer looking for detailed information on battles to recreate, but a good read for a serious student of the period.

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