Except for a couple of distracting and pervasive faults, foibles, or idiosyncrasies . ..

. . . This would be a really good historical fiction..


but a couple of things are annoying me so badly, it's ruining my enjoyment.


first of all, the almost unforgivable overuse of the word duly.

Forty-nine times in a four hundred page book?!?!

four times on a single page. Twice in one sentence.


"The two lords duly complied with their sovereign’s wishes and, upon reaching the gates of Cowbridge, the king duly emerged,"


it's very annoying.



the other thing is a tendency to explain multiple times in a single sentence.


"he knew of Madog’s reputation: none had bettered him in ten years of competition; no one had lowered his colours in a decade of combat."


 "Wave after wave of plague had swept the area, reducing the population by a good third; for every man, woman and child, one of their number had been condemned to the soil."


"In grief, they embraced, in sorrow they entwined; like ivy upon a tree, Athelena clung to Sir Roger."


"‘But of course, my son. You may go about your business. Rest easy; take comfort in the knowledge that I will take good care of her; I will look after her well.’"


"so why the moment of doubt, the moment of hesitation?"


"best to be comfortable, at ease, clear in your own mind."  (PLEASE, pick just one!)


"she had heard gruesome tales of Payn and his behaviour. But surely, no one could be that callous? No one could be that cruel?"


"the pitiless look within his eyes banished all doubt: he could be so cruel, he could be so callous."


"‘You are wounded; you are hurt;"


"the prior duly bowed, secreting a secret smile."


judicial use of this technique could be a strength, but at least once on every pair of pages -- it's starting to feel like A Thing.


Every single person so far, in the process of eating, has had to wipe drool from his chin!  What's that about?  Apples, wine, capons, it matters not -- saliva runs from mouth.


and the two Heroes in the book both just bit the dust.?  Who's supposed to save everyone, then?