Stewart has spent most of his professional life in television. Initially trained as an academic, he was variously a teacher, soldier and copy-writer before joining the BBC, where he worked in documentary features and current affairs, including stints on Panorama and QED.He was Director of Special Projects at TWI and later Head of Production at Octagon CSI. He produced a wide range of innovative programmes from sports magazines like Trans World Sport, Futbol Mundial and Golazo to historical documentaries like Britain at War, Century and Indochine.He has won over thirty international television awards including a BAFTA, Grierson and Peabody, was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is Visiting Professor at the University of Bedfordshire.The author of several non-fiction books connected to his work in television, his first work of historical fiction, Conquest, set around the pivotal events of 1066 and the life of legendary hero Hereward of Bourne, was published by Penguin in February 2011. Stewart now lives in Somerset with his wife, Lucy and their twin boys, Charlie and Jack. Their home is also the base for Big Ape Media International, the independent media company run by Stewart and Lucy.
1176 – England
King Henry II reigns over a vast empire that stretches the length of Britain and reaches the foothills of the Pyrenees. But he is aging, and his powerful and ambitious sons are restless.
Henry’s third son, Richard of Aquitaine, is developing a fearsome reputation for being a ruthless warrior. Arrogant and conceited he earns the name Richard Lionheart for his bravery and brutality on the battlefield.
After the death of his brothers, Richard’s impatience to take the throne, and gain the immense power that being King over a vast empire would bring him, leads him to form an alliance with France.
And so, Richard begins his bloody quest to return the Holy Land to Christian rule.
Stewart Binns’ Making of England series features Conquest, Crusade, Anarchy and his latest historical page-turner, Lionheart.
I have had to do some thinking about this review, i feel a need to explain my feelings without them being misinterpreted, So:
Im not a member of the BNP, im not a fan of UKIP (who are BNP but without the courage to sign up fr them…IMHO) what i am proud of is being English, im not a raving flag waving, bulldog tattoo’d bloke. I have come to love my country despite the national need to feel embarrassed about it, to feel if you celebrate St Georges day you are a racist. My love of history has not hindered that love of nation, in fact it has deepened it, to read and understand what this tiny nation has achieved is quite simply astounding.
So its always been great to read each and every book in this series by Stewart Binns, a series that from the start pulls together the different races/ nations that have attacked, conquered/ invaded and interbred with this mongrel nation that calls itself Great Britain. Anyone who reads this series should take heart, seeing how our national identity has been formed, forged in battle, mixed nations providing different temperaments and skills and behaviours. (The Saxons the, normals, the celts, the pics, the romans, the Danes etc..) . We are now adding the dogged hard working poles / eastern block nations, the history, passion and mystery of asia, the African nations etc.. This will all for me make Britain a greater nation in the long run.
I apologise for going all nationalistic in a review, but that the joy of this series, this is how it makes me feel, proud. The story of Richard is im sure told with some poetic licence, regarding his alleged family history, and the talisman. But he plot, the characters, the emotion of the story, that is classy writing. That is something that makes it a must read. The story of the Priest Alun and the Princesses is one that will leave many a damp eye. The pride of a friend like Ranulph is something everyone should enjoy, reading about his pride in his king and his friendship is a joy. Its just great to read a story with such a deep feeling of pride clear in the plot voice, and clearly shown by the author.
The only negative I have with this book is that its the end of the series. I shall miss it, but also i look forward to what comes next from this author. This book should appeal to so many readers, and don’t be put off by my ravings about England, that’s just how I feel reading this series, how Stewart Binns brings to the fore each element that makes up the core psyche of the Brit, where that spirit of adventure and action may have been developed in the cauldron of history.