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The Last of the Barons   By: (1803-1873)

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The Last of the Barons by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton is a gripping historical novel set in 15th-century England during the tumultuous War of the Roses. Through vivid storytelling and meticulously researched details, Bulwer-Lytton brings to life a tumultuous period of English history.

The story revolves around Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick, known as "the Kingmaker" for his influential role in shaping the destiny of the English throne. Bulwer-Lytton weaves a complex narrative that explores the intricate power struggles and political machinations of the era, brilliantly capturing the essence of the time.

The characters are richly drawn and multi-dimensional, with Warwick himself portrayed as a fiercely intelligent and charismatic leader. His unwavering loyalty to his cause, coupled with his ambition to secure the throne for his chosen candidate, drives the narrative forward. The author skillfully contrasts Warwick's uncompromising nature with the conflicting loyalties and shifting alliances of other key players like King Edward IV and the conniving Queen Margaret.

Bulwer-Lytton's attention to detail is noteworthy, as he intricately describes the societal norms, landscapes, and battles of the era. From the opulent court scenes to the brutal clashes on the battlefield, every scene is vividly depicted, immersing the reader in a bygone era.

One aspect that truly stands out is the author's ability to infuse the narrative with emotional depth. Relationships, complicated by familial responsibilities and political ambitions, shape the characters' actions and propel the story forward. The difficulties faced by the protagonists in reconciling personal desires with their public duties add a layer of complexity, making their struggles all the more relatable.

However, the novel's pacing can feel slow at times, especially during the extensive political discussions and strategizing. Additionally, the extensive historical context might overwhelm readers who are less familiar with the intricacies of the War of the Roses. Despite these minor shortcomings, The Last of the Barons remains a rewarding read for those interested in historical fiction and British history.

In conclusion, The Last of the Barons is a captivating historical novel that transports readers to a turbulent period in English history. Bulwer-Lytton's impeccable research, rich character development, and evocative storytelling make this book a must-read for enthusiasts of historical fiction. Whether you are a history buff or simply love a compelling tale of power, loyalty, and ambition, this novel will leave a lasting impression.

First Page:


By Edward Bulwer Lytton


I dedicate to you, my indulgent Critic and long tried Friend, the work which owes its origin to your suggestion. Long since, you urged me to attempt a fiction which might borrow its characters from our own Records, and serve to illustrate some of those truths which History is too often compelled to leave to the Tale teller, the Dramatist, and the Poet. Unquestionably, Fiction, when aspiring to something higher than mere romance, does not pervert, but elucidate Facts. He who employs it worthily must, like a biographer, study the time and the characters he selects, with a minute and earnest diligence which the general historian, whose range extends over centuries, can scarcely be expected to bestow upon the things and the men of a single epoch. His descriptions should fill up with colour and detail the cold outlines of the rapid chronicler; and in spite of all that has been argued by pseudo critics, the very fancy which urged and animated his theme should necessarily tend to increase the reader's practical and familiar acquaintance with the habits, the motives, and the modes of thought which constitute the true idiosyncrasy of an age. More than all, to Fiction is permitted that liberal use of Analogical Hypothesis which is denied to History, and which, if sobered by research, and enlightened by that knowledge of mankind (without which Fiction can neither harm nor profit, for it becomes unreadable), tends to clear up much that were otherwise obscure, and to solve the disputes and difficulties of contradictory evidence by the philosophy of the human heart... Continue reading book >>

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