Thursday, June 07, 2007

'The Tempest: Last Prayers Part 1' by S.F. Jones


Title: The Tempest: Last Prayers Part 1
Author: S. F. Jones
Price: $15.88, paperback; $8.17, ebook
Genre: Historical
ISBN: na
Publisher: Tyger's Head books/Lulu
Point of Sale: Lulu

Civil war breaks out as Royalists and Parliamentarians fight for England’s rule. King Charles I supports the “Divine Right of Kings”, whereas Parliament views this as seeking absolute control. Beginning in 1642, the Cavaliers, in support of the King, and the Roundheads, Parliament followers, launch the first of three conflicts that frames the English Civil War period.

Serving in several prior battles for the crown, George Lisle just wants the hostilities to end so he can go home. Fatigue fuels his private cynicism surrounding many of his comrades’ misplaced allegiance; their joining the Royalists stems more from love of money than resolute fidelity towards the King. He also discerns his family’s vulnerability in London; where from the onset, remains under Parliament rule. It is common knowledge that the Lisle family holds a long lineage that unequivocally supports the monarchy, not Parliament.

A hardy detailed war account, “The Tempest: Last Prayers Part 1” features the first part of England’s Civil War era. In summary, Parliament wants a greater political voice within the monarchy but King Charles I refuses, as a result he fights for his “Divine Right of Kings”; “…that a monarch owes his rule to the will of God, and not necessarily to the will of his subjects, the aristocracy or any other competing authority, implying that any attempt to depose him or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God.” (Wikipedia.com).

Readers who enjoy a robust historical war novel will delight in this story as Ms. Jones maintains historical accuracy without embellishment. Even with the supposed dialog, most often not recorded throughout history, she obviously combines imagination with her military reenactor and researcher experiences to give these period characters soul. The story aptly shows both sides of the war possessing formidable and determined people fighting for a worthy cause, resulting in a palpable stubborn allegiance towards their key leaders. Yet, its central figure is George Lisle, a man who suffers an erratic stutter, and who has maintained a compassionate veneer throughout his notable military career.

As George follows Prince Rupert’s command, he becomes discontent with the military’s uncharitable treatment of prisoners and villagers, while unconsciously pillaging the town of all reserves. When confronting Prince Rupert with this opinion, George extends his resignation after the Prince expresses utter disregard for his men’s uncivilized behavior. Prince Rupert’s past military experience condones such practices so saw the men’s actions as “…war-like things”. His devotion to King Charles I apparent as George resumes his command; though also dictated by the Prince who threatens to charge him with desertion if he did not.

As a reviewer who endeavors to refrain from “I” statements, “I” must admit to not appreciating war stories, though relishing historical fiction. “The Tempest: Last Prayers Part 1” is a well written, enlightening book that I will acquaint like people towards, extending a challenge to broaden their literary repertoire.

10/10




Reviewed by: In August of 2006, Pamela broke into book review writing with Erotic Escapades, but writes for The Erotic Bookworm, The Muse Book Reviews, Romance At Heart, and now POD People. Her own web site, Chewing the Bone exhibits book reviews in multilple genres, including children and young adult fiction. With all that she has going on Pamela finds time to dabble in flash-fic writing. Although, she doesn't aspire in becoming a published novelist, because it would take valuable time away from her first love... reading.

4 comments:

S F Jones said...

Pamela, I'm delighted and honoured to receive this review, and to see that it made such an impression despite your reservations about military stories. The English civil wars were complicated, both in terms of what caused them and in their effects on the people involved; if I've managed to plunge the reader into the period and enabled them to enjoy the story without being overwhelmed, then I'm extremely pleased. Many thanks for taking the time to review.

Susan Higginbotham said...

I'll have to look for this one. It's a period that interests me.

Anonymous said...

"Historical accuracy without embellishment"?? Whatever this book may be, it is hardly historically accurate, especially not in respect of the redoubtable Prince Rupert. Leaving aside the minor errors,he is here portrayed as petty, self seeking, incompetent, despised by all his officers and downright stupid. None of this is borne out by contemporary sources. Other Royalist officers get the same treatment. It seems a shame to denigrate real people, however long dead, in the interests of fiction. I was glad I had borrowed this book rather than bought it.

David P

Anonymous said...

From Pamela:

David said: "Historical accuracy without embellishment"??

According to Wikipedia and Dictionary.com’s Encyclopedia the war period is covered quite accurately. “READERS WHO ENJOY A ROBUST HISTORICAL WAR NOVEL WILL DELIGHT IN THIS STORY AS MS. JONES MAINTAINS HISTORICAL ACCURACY WITHOUT EMBELLISHMENT. ”

As for character personalities…I felt the author used her imagination and experience in military reenactments to form the dialog. I.e., “EVEN WITH THE SUPPOSED DIALOG, MOST OFTEN NOT RECORDED THROUGHOUT HISTORY, SHE OBVIOUSLY COMBINES IMAGINATION WITH HER MILITARY REENACTOR AND RESEARCHER EXPERIENCES TO GIVE THESE PERIOD CHARACTERS SOUL.”

David said: "Whatever this book may be, it is hardly historically accurate, especially not in respect of the redoubtable Prince Rupert. Leaving aside the minor errors,he is here portrayed as petty, self seeking, incompetent, despised by all his officers and downright stupid."

I never read Prince Rupert in the light as you have stated. In fact I believe all high ranking military personnel encounter differences of opinion and visionary goals, even today, with their heiarchy and those they command. It's human nature. However, many of those elements were portrayed through dialog, which I cannot verify through any of my resources. See quote above.

I did find it amusing that Prince Rupert brought his French poodle to the war sights...*still chuckling*. Although the author did give enough of a description that it was a "large" poodle, not a miniature "yippy" kind (which would would definitely "denigrate" his manly military image). I wonder how he maintained the poodle clip throughout those years at war...hmmmmm? My mother had a poodle when I was a kid, so I know about these things. ;)

David said: None of this is borne out by contemporary sources. Other Royalist officers get the same treatment. It seems a shame to denigrate real people, however long dead, in the interests of fiction. I was glad I had borrowed this book rather than bought it.

Again, I did not read about any one person being “denigrated” (disparaged, degraded, belittled, etc.), except for the civilians having to live amid the war. I went into this book knowing it as a work of fiction…not a detailed historical account. If I wanted a TRUE historical piece, I would not be reading fiction.

Although I did find it abhoring that the period used quartering as a form of punishment, though Ms. Jones doe snot go into detail. Susan Higginbotham's book, "The Traitor's Wife" details this practice, and has stayed with me even now. *shuddering*

Overall, I enjoyed the book, the characters were brought to life through the author’s imagination and the war portions were pulled from detailed accounts at the author’s disposal. It’s integrating reality with imagination, so equals fiction.

Then again, agreeing to disagree is good too. ;)