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Harold Bruce Allsopp

To Kill a King
Hale, 1965


Fredegund, former slave and mistress to King Chilperic, becomes his queen. She is a priestess of Diana yet must deal with the Church in France of the late 500s AD. She plans and plots, gives birth to many sons who die, and finally sees her husband assassinated. Based on Gregory of Tours history, the characters in this novel are so wooden that one feels as if in a petrified forest. Fredegund could have been a whole person, but the dialog and pace (the final denouement covers several years and one chapter - a race to a very unfulfilling finish) work against her. No tears are shed by her or by us despite the terrible incidents - plague, revolt, murder, witchcraft, death, torture, famine, etc - in the book. Even Allsopp at times gets confused as to which character is which. As an architect, the author could have given some better descriptions of the cities of France; at least we would have learned something that way. -Ruth Breindel 7/99

- Ruth Breindel, 7/1/1999

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