Audiobook Section > Audiobook Reviews > Daphne du Maurier - The King's General - Audiobook - Full Review
ADVERTISEMENT
Daphne du Maurier - The King's General - Audiobook - Full Review
( 0 )

The King's General

by Daphne Du Maurier

At the end of a quaint, old fashioned romance there is a quaint epilogue where the author discusses the fate of her characters subsequent to the close of the story. The lovers marry and have plenty of children - of course, but we also want to know what happened to the kindly aunt who helped them through their troubles. And we want to know whether the ogre of an uncle who treated them awfully because of a long running feud with their father ever gets his comeuppance.

Sometimes, this epilogue - whisper it only - is the best part of the book. This because it is short and full of justice for all concerned. And also because in real life there is always an epilogue - in the sense that things never come to an end.

So it is with Daphne du Maurier's The King's General - a novel based on real events. At the very end, Du Maurier gives a short account of the outcomes for each of her characters and on top of this, an account of the discovery, centuries later, which seems to have been the inspiration for the novel. Unfortunately this ending is one of the few completely satisfying aspects of the novel.

The start of the novel too is quite good: the narrator of the story, Honor Harris, writing for the grave, as it were, an account of her life in Cornwall and hinting at the tyranny of Oliver Cromwell's rule. In the aftermath of the English Civil War, Honor and her family and many of their Cornish compatriots are undoubtedly the losers of a fierce, bitter, hard fought war. A war not to be lost.

Du Maurier is as effective in her hinting at Cromwell's tyranny, as she is ineffective in her depiction of the war itself.

There are many memorable scenes in The King's General: a wounded soldier being raised onto a horse by three men so that he may see the Prince of Wales; Honor seeing the bodies of hanging soldiers as she drives through a town; the destruction of Menabilly - house of refuge for the women caught up in this war - two of those women playing a game of cards as the soldiers destroy everything they can lay their hands on.

It is the comic book quality of some of these scenes that is problematic. A novel that encompasses war may be graphic but it does not need to be written like a graphic novel. Here there is drama, intense drama, but none of the emotional inpsection that gives the drama an individual angle, a human face.

Part of the problem is in the character of Honor's lover, Richard Grenvile, the King's General. Reading the book, one falls to wondering whether Honor fails to see that Grenvile is a monster, for all his tenderness towards her. Honor is of course not so naive. But to borrow her own suggestion, she is rotten with sentiment. An incurable romantic.

Gartred Grenvile, the General's sister, is as cynical as her brother. Yet whenever either of these two turbulent characters is on the scene, the book comes to life. For all their cynicism, the Grenviles are shrewd in their perception of personality. They are cunning. And risk takers. Gartred's biting, yet insightful suggest she doesn't live with the half-delusions that Honor struggles with.

The Grenviles are extreme yet believeable characters, but the relationships that develop between Honor and her brothers and the Grenviles are difficult to comprehend. Whatever passions Richard and Gartred can arouse in their lovers it is difficult to believe that Honor, in particular, can remain utterly loyal and completely devoted towards Richard. Committed enough to risk abandoning her family for him, her reputation and even life and limb.

Yet this is what Du Maurier asks us to accept: that Honor can suffer such ruin and yet remain enchanted by the charms of this one man - cruel, cynical and manipulative as he is.

The novel falls into the trap which exists for any fact-based fiction, descending at times into an accurate account of historical events rather than story-telling. This is not helped by Juliet Stevenson's reading of the novel which at times has all the passion of a rendition of a shopping list.

It becomes clear at the end of the novel, that Du Maurier must have done a lot of research for her work. There is a lot of fascinating material in this novel for anyone interested in Cornwall and the Civil War.

Published by BBC Worldwide and read by Juliet Stevenson.

Litrev Rating

Overall 2______

Suspense 3______
Characters 3______
Plot 1______
Audio 2______
Own it? Rate it!
( 0 )
 

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

JoomlaWatch Stats 1.2.9 by Matej Koval

JK Rowling - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling If it hurts again go straight to Dumbledore. They're saying t...

continues...

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Full Re

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling Read brilliantly by Stephen Fry, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is one of those books that demon...

continues...

Ian Fleming - James Bond - Moonraker

Moonraker by Ian Fleming UPDAT...

continues...

Graham Greene - The Third Man

The Third Man by Graham Greene A haunting nov...

continues...

Agatha Christie - At Bertram's Hotel - Full Review

At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie After a promis...

continues...

Agatha Christie - Sad Cypress - Full Review

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie HarperCollins ...

continues...

Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier A novel about jea...

continues...

Agatha Christie - Sad Cypress

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie Opening with a ...

continues...

Agatha Christie's Audiobook - And Then There Were

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie Like several other Agatha Christie novels, And Then There Were None opens with a nursery rhyme - in this ca...

continues...

Agatha Christie - The ABC Murders

The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie I think that I...

continues...

More in: Recommeded Audiobooks

ADVERTISEMENT

Agatha Christie - Sad Cypress - Full Review

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie H...

continues...

Agatha Christie - At Bertram's Hotel - Full R

At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie ...

continues...

Graham Greene - The Third Man

The Third Man by Graham Greene ...

continues...

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Fu

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling Read brilliantly by Stephen Fry, Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

continues...

Agatha Christie's Audiobook - And Then There

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie Like several other Agatha Christie novels, And Then There Were Non...

continues...

Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier A n...

continues...

More in: Recommeded Audiobooks

Agatha Christie Reviews

Agatha Christie - After the Funeral

After the Funeral by Agatha Christie Richard Aberne...

continues...

The Labours of Hercules

The Labours of Herculesby Agatha Christie Poirot Investigates A collection of short stories.   Poirot sets himself a challenge before he retires - to solve 12 c...

continues...

Agatha Christie - Taken at the Flood

Taken at the Flood ...

continues...

Agatha Christie - Dumb Witness

 Dumb Witnessby Agatha Christie Woman's best friend    Hercule Poirot receives a letter from a Miss Arundel which leaves him perplexed.   The letter is from a woman w...

continues...

Agatha Christie - Passenger to Frankfurt

Passenger to Frankfurt by Agatha Christie A Weak Adventure LITREV Rating - 1 / 5An intriguing tale of a British diplomat who has an e...

continues...

Five Little Pigs

Five Little Pigsby Agatha Christie Retro-Justice The Five Little Pigs are five superbly-drawn characters who are present at a tragic event: the murder of A...

continues...

Agatha Christie - The Mirror Crack'd from Sid

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side ...

continues...

Agatha Christie - The Mystery of the Spanish

The Mystery of the Spanish Chest by Agatha Christie A...

continues...

Mysterious Affair at Styles

Mysterious Affair at Stylesby Agatha Christie The first Agatha Christie Novel and one of the best.   Mysterious Affair at Styles introduces Poirot - a retired Belgian detective i...

continues...

More in: Agatha Christie Audio Books