The Poisoned Cup by Edward Lanyon

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Good afternoon readers, it’s Thursday and I have another brilliant review for you. Now this one comes with a sigh because it should have been posted, well a little while ago to say the least but my disorganised brain managed to miss it completely. It’s been sat in my drafts waiting to be posted for a very long time, but today is the day. In terms of reading, currently I am wading through 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami and it is an absolute masterpiece; I cannot stop reading it; the review will be up probably in the next year seeing as in total the three books span over 2000 pages but we’ll see: for now, this (very) long awaited review.

You’ve seen Braveheart – now discover the other side of the story. In 1286, King Edward of England sends his aged confidant, Sir Henry de Grenville, to Scotland to negotiate a marriage that could unite the two kingdoms. In a tragic accident, the Scottish king dies and his country is left without an heir. In a desperate bid to avoid civil war, the Guardians of Scotland invite King Edward to arbitrate on the succession. But war ensues anyway, a war that quickly engulfs England. Sir Henry is caught up in a bitter conflict against the army of William Wallace. But there is a spy in the Wallace camp…

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So, this is a full on whirlwind of a historical fiction book and as you all know I adore historical fiction. The book follows an ageing English Knight who happens to be working for King Edward the first. His job is to bring peace between England and Scotland; the angst between the two kingdoms is beginning to build to a startling level. However his plans are scuppered when the King of Scotland, Alexander is killed in a sudden accident; all must be done to stop the incoming of a civil war. With no clear path of how to unite the two, war wages and Sir Henry is caught up in the heat. Step forward William Wallace, a mean and fierce man and a little different to the figure we see in the film Braveheart. Lanyon spills a brutal tale of battles, knights, one beautiful maiden and a rip-rolling story.

So the first thing to mention is this feels like a very well-researched and investigated story; the story feels real and definitely transports you to medieval times which of course it is supposed to. I liked the idea that history can be a little set up to make certain historical figures seen in a more positive light and Lanyon forces the reader to re-think the portraits we see of such historic figures. What I also found truly intriguing was the brutal nature of the book: this is an author who does not step back instead the writing is heady, ruthless but also fully formed. It feels like you’re there in the action, feeling the heat of the battle, the roar in your ears; it’s a wonderful thing when historical fiction manages this.

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I thought the characters were fleshed out with style and precision and I liked the way that some are historical figures whilst others are fictional and created from the author’s imagination. I thought the political line of fiction was woven throughout and helped to add to the action and make it feel all the more real. Two slight wobbles; I did wonder how far the character profiles of some of the characters such as William Wallace had been pushed to fit with the storyline and some of the events that occurred did push the boundaries of believability a little but I was so consumed that didn’t affect how much I enjoyed the book to a point where it became a major issue.

I really did enjoy this wonderfully told historical fiction; this type of plot-line isn’t my first port of call, I often prefer the tales of what was happens away from the battle and I tend to read books that focus during world war one and two but this novel has definitely opened my eyes to the other types of historical fiction that are out there waiting to be read.  My only slight complaint would be how honest the character profiles are and how far they have been played with to fit with the plot-line being woven but I thoroughly enjoyed this tale. It has a real sense of what historical fiction should do and how to engage the reader. A lovely, but rather brutal tale.

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101 things in 1001 days: Travel somewhere you have never been before in GB

101 things in 1001 days
Good evening my lovely, lovely readers. This post come from a very content little blogger. I’ve had a wonderful weekend and now I’m all snuggled up on the sofa finishing another of 101 challenges but I’ll come to that soon. There will be new reviews up tomorrow so if that’s what you’re looking for then I’m sorry but tonight it is a post about a road trip to Glasgow.
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On Saturday morning, way to early for my liking, I stumbled into a taxi to Stoke Station, grabbed myself a skinny caramel latte and took the train up to Crewe. After a quick train hop I was on the train to Glasgow with my delightful mother. Three hours later, a little tired and with aching legs and heads ringing (small children on trains can be a little tiring) we reached Glasgow. A day spent looking walking through the lovely trailing of streets of Glasgow we a number of stunning art galleries and traipsed the streets shopping.
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A number of magaritas in the early evening and a wander back to hotel we were in for an utter treat. The hotel was stunning; with modern rooms filled with little beautiful lines and treasures on every surface we were shocked at how beautiful it all was.
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Perfectly thought out and stunningly beautiful; after announcing that I was to move in, we took a walk down into the town and preceded to devour a monster burrito and also a bowl of mussels and fries. Oh and two bottles of wine. The place was stunning and with the drink flowing we enjoyed the truly beautiful atmosphere of the little diner.
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After the best night sleep in weeks, we woke to the stunning sights of Glasgow. A hearty breakfast later we were walking the streets looking at the stunning graffiti, the dazzling views and the bustling streets.
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A few trips to a number of galleries including the light house and a trip to the river we took in the truly beautiful sights of Glasgow. The place was a bustling joy and although on arriving there I wasn’t sure I know I need to go back and discover more about this wonderful place!
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I am a little whimsical at the best of times so as it is scotland I had to find myself a deep fried mars bar! I must admit it was Mumma B who finally tracked one down in a little chippy on the high street. The verdict; a lot like a nuttella crepe with caramel! I couldn’t finish it but the thought was there.
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After a very long day we finally trekked back to the highstreet to find more cocktails; shock! We tried an excellent number including a very spicy but detectable martini (and a number of other cocktails!)
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Two very tired travellers took the train back home and although a few wobbles getting back I had a very lovely sleep and a very tired but wholesome day at work!
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I had a truly lovely weekend away; you watch out Glasgow, this little traveller will be back!
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