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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Loyalty Binds Me - Joan Szechtman This novel, the sequel to 'This Time' in which Richard III is saved from Bosworth Field and brought to 2004, continues the story of Richard Gloucestre and his wife Sarah. They take their children to England for Richard and his son, Edward, to visit Anne's grave and bring closure to their 15th century lives. Shortly after their arrival, Richard is arrested for the murder of his nephews.

With this premise, I assumed that there would be more travel into the past. I was wrong. Richard is arrested in 2006 for an alleged 1483 murder, making this novel more of a contemporary legal drama with a sci-fi twist than historical fiction. Once again, not much is said about Richard's past beyond the basics, and no mysteries are solved. Richard could just as easily be anybody brought from the past because the focus is on the technology, not his story.

My biggest issue in this series is the author's tendency to repeat characters' thoughts and words. Admittedly, this is the way people truly think and speak, but it is not the way authors usually write. It is a delicate balance to keep dialogue realistic to the reader but not as repetitive as our speech truly tends to be. If Richard "pinched the bridge of his nose" one more time...... Once again, a nervous habit could have been established without repeating the exact same sentence so many times. Characters' emotions swung quickly from "I'm going to kill you" to "Forgive me" in a way that was a little two-dimensional and unrealistic but did keep the story quick paced.

The Jew vs Christian debate does not carry on in this book from the last, and Richard does resort to prayer though neither he nor his son seem to embrace their faith the way they would have in their time. Sarah, who adamantly defends her Jewish faith, doesn't seem to even have that but rather holds a faith in science and medicine. However, the issue of faith was not the great issue in this book that it was in the first.

The attitude that you would expect to show up in Richard III came out a little more in this novel than the first one. He is intelligent and has a difficult time accepting those in authority over himself in a way that makes sense for one accustomed to being the top authority. Only when he is said to cry or be near crying a few more times did I want to point out that this was a medieval king, not a sensitive 21st century guy.

Overall, an interesting premise, but I wish that the author had spent more time in the past and giving her theories on Richard III's mysteries.