About the Book:
Dimensions: 229 x 152mm
Page Count: 400
About the Author:
The First Blast of the Trumpet takes on the life of John Knox, the Protestant reformer from Scotland (it is book one of a trilogy). The author’s note clearly indicates that very little is known of Knox’s early life and that this book is very much a depiction of the author’s “what could have beens.”
Each chapter opens with a quote from either the Bible or David Lindsay‘s writings or some other relevant source. The quote gives a hint of what is to come in the writings below. This first book starts with the history of the Hepburns of Hailes castle – the lords Bothwell – and a basic discussion of the politics of the time. Scottish history is always interesting and often challenging and I think if one had no idea of its clannish complications this would not be a good first book to read. The addition of common Scottish words was also a tad confusing. I had an e-copy. I don’t know if there was a glossary included with the book or not. I’ve read a LOT of Scottish historical fiction so I was able to muddle through but heaven help a new reader.
The tale moves along as we get to know Elizabeth Hepburn and her sister and cousin. Her sister is forced to wed one of the more powerful lords despite wanting to enter the nunnery. Her cousin heads off to court to become the mistress of the king. Elizabeth is forced into the nunnery despite wanting to marry. Gotta love the way they treated women back in the day.
Elizabeth ultimately becomes Prioress of St. Mary’s – apparently a Hepburn holding for ages. (This is fact.) She learns to accept the role and the freedoms and power it brings her but does she still long for her love, David Lindsay? While visiting with her former nurse she helps with the birth of a child. He is almost dead when born and she does not want to give up on him so she breathes into his mouth and he survives. She stands as his godmother as he is named – John Knox.
The book was very interesting in the beginning and I found myself truly enthralled but then something happened about 2/3rds of the way through. It was as if the author had to get a lot of story in under a certain amount of pages and the chapters started reading like diary entries instead of a complete story line. There were timing issues as well as issues discussed in one chapter weren’t introduced until the next. It was frustrating. I don’t know if it is because books can’t be long any more or what but it took away from the reading experience for me. I don’t mind a big, long book. I miss them as a matter of fact.
If this had continued the way it began it would have been a 5 star read in spite of the Scottish words thrown in and in spite of the glossing over on the political stuff. It might be different for a less well read reviewer but I truly enjoyed the book until it started changing.
You can purchase The First Blast of the Trumpet on Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of The First Blast of the Trumpet from Knox Robinson Publishing for my honest review. I received no compensation for this post.