Review: Essex Dogs, Dan Jones

Rating: 3 out of 5

Hmmm… Well, I fell into a trap. Normally, I would not listen to historical fiction and thinking that this was Dan Jones, I thought it was real history. Which, of course, it didn’t end up being. Instead, it’s a novel about the start of the Hundred Years’ War with it’s main action taking place at Crecy—as is common for a novel on the Hundred Years’ War, the activities build up to one of the well known battles.

The light in which the Black Prince was shown was unexpected as he comes off as a major prat: in most cases, this character is turned into a hero. I would guess that perhaps this is an accurate portrayal of the man before gaining reputation as a great knight, but in truth I’m unsure whether souring the relationship between the king and the prince is not simply a plot device. I also don’t remember this from the biography of Edward III which probably provided some sort of an answer.

Regarding the rest, I was most disappointed by the fact that the Scot had been made to sound like a “modern” Scot. What’s the reasoning there? We know that the accents for all parts of the country have changed considerably, and the Medieval Scot would have been more influenced by Scots, so is a modern English accent really appropriate?

I guess whether a historian or not, writing historical fiction means writing fiction. It would have been wrong to assume that having a historian do it would necessarily be any better than having anyone else do it. I guess it’s okay, but not sure I would rate the book any higher

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