Top critical review
Richard and Roger exit the stage
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 22, 2020
“A little space below the grass
Out of the sun and shade;
But worlds away from me, alas,
Down there where you are laid.”
– from DEATH AND GLORY, from the LAIS by Marie of France
“Most who had come here [on the Third Crusade] were staying. And here they would remain, forever young …” – from DEATH AND GLORY
“Failure seemed to have been turned into success, but that was an illusion. Richard knew the truth, even if no one else did, and that truth would haunt him the rest of his days.” – from DEATH AND GLORY
DEATH AND GLORY is Robert Broomall’s third and final book of the Roger of Huntley series, Roger being a disgraced monk on the run from England who joins the infantry for the attack on Muslim-held Acre during the Third Crusade and, with the arrival of English King Richard (“the Lionheart’), rises through the ranks of the nobility and military during the crusade’s duration. The first two volumes are DEATH’S HEAD and THE RED KING.
It can be argued that the trilogy is the story of Roger in the context of Richard’s exploits in the Holy Land, or vice versa. It really only makes a difference if the latter, as I shall comment on later.
For Roger and his lady Ailith, DEATH AND GLORY picks up where THE RED KING leaves off – presumably on the same patch of ground they had reached on fleeing their captivity in the clutches of the Muslim villain Qaymuz.
DEATH AND GLORY focuses pretty much on the last battle of the Third Crusade, i.e. the Battle of Jaffa in late July and early August of 1192. In this action, as history has it, Saladin besieged the city and captured all of it but the Citadel. In the nick of time, Richard arrives with a relief force and roundly defeats the Muslim army sending it packing back to Jerusalem.
Interestingly, the author includes in the plot extended cameo appearances of those future figures of English lore and legend: the archers Rob[in Hood], Tiny [Little] John, and Will [Scarlet].
This final novel is pretty much the same mixture of sappy soap opera and intensely bloody, up close and personal fighting as the first two. On that basis, I would have to award four stars. However …
Personally, I had wanted this series to be a focus on King Richard with Roger of Huntley as entertaining padding. Unfortunately, the story ends here. Roger apparently is to live happily ever after and Richard goes on to … well, that’s another story that the author might've well continued. Thus, I am perhaps unfairly awarding three stars to this final installment of an otherwise very entertaining trilogy.