Friday, August 14, 2015

(Review) Consolamentum: The Tiger and The Dove, Book Three

Publication Date: August 8, 2014.
Publisher: CreateSpace, Independent Publishing Platform.
Genre: Historical fiction, middle ages, Inquisition, Constantinople, 13th Century, middle ages.
Pages: 366.
Source: Free paperback copy from Rebecca Hazell in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.

Amazon

Further links to explore the history surrounding The Tiger and The Dove series.
Inquisition, from Britannica.
Inquisition, from Wikipedia.
Constantinople, from Wikipedia.
Fall of Constantinople, from Wikipedia.
Niccolo Polo, Marco Polo, from Wikipedia.
Marco Polo, from Biography.
A timeline of 13th century European history. The link is from History Central.
Eleanor of Aquitaine, from History.

Summary:
The first book in The Tiger and The Dove series, The Grip of God, began with Princess Sofia as a young adolescent girl, who is stolen from her home in Eastern Europe. The area she originated from is a Slavic region, and the people called themselves the Rus', they lived in modern day Russia and Belarus. The Mongol invaders abducted Sofia, and killed many of her people. The Mogol's were a war-hungry, conquering, large network of nomad people. Through most of the first book she is their hostage.
In book two of the series, Solomon's Bride, Sofia spends a large part of the book with another people group, the Muslims.
In book three of the series, Consolamentum, she is a single, independent-minded woman, living in an era when this was uncommon. When the story begins, she is happy to be reunited with family, but happiness is short-lived. She relocates to Constantinople.
Sofia is a cosmopolitan type person, and the author weaves in historical events and famous people from the 13th century in to Sofia's life.

The time period of Consolamentum is 1249-1263
The fall of Constantinople, 1453. 
My Thoughts:
If I were asked to sum-up Sofia's story in one sentence it would be,
A panoramic view of the 13th century through the life experiences of Sofia.
Through Sofia's story (all three books) I was given a picture of: Europe, the Byzantine Empire, the Mongols, the Muslims, the Crusades, the Catholic Church, the Jewish people, travel, architecture, food, business trade, religion, philosophical views, torture, imprisonment, diseases, marriage and family; and both the lifestyles of common people and upper class.
In Consolamentum, I admired Sofia's resolve and tenacity to live a life by her own creation. She has witnessed, experienced, and gained knowledge in the various aspects of her life. She has tried to surround herself with people, of varying backgrounds, who she can trust implicitly. When she fails, she learns. She is a person of admiral qualities. She reminds me a bit of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Both were women who were intelligent, savvy, and did not shrink-back from speaking their minds. Sofia is not always tactful in expressing herself. Her words cause trouble, but this is one of the outstanding features of her character, and a brilliant element for the trilogy. To have a milk-sop female lead through three books would be sluggish and boring. She is a person of strong interest, and this kept me reading through all three books.
During this time period Christians did not realize that Jesus is greater than religion (the Catholic Church.) People did not know about a personal relationship with Jesus. They did not know about grace. Few people read Scripture. Sofia struggled, because of what she witnessed people do in the "name" of religion. They are power hungry, angry, and fearful men. She has seen the worst of what men can do to men (and women.) By the last chapter she is weary.
For a person who loves to read historical fiction books on the middle ages, The Tiger and The Dove series is an excellent choice. My favorite book in the series is The Grip of God, followed by Consolamentum, and lastly Solomon's Bride.
Marco Polo's travels. 

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