Monday, August 29, 2016

The Castle of Kings by Oliver Potzsch

An epic tale of murder, treachery, bravery, and love

In 1524, in what is now Germany, hundreds of thousands of peasants revolted against the harsh treatment of their aristocratic overlords. Agnes is the daughter of one of these overlords, but she is not a typical sixteenth-century girl, refusing to wear dresses and spending more time with her pet falcon than potential suitors. There is only one suitor she is interested in: Mathis, a childhood friend who she can never marry due to his low birth status. But when a rogue knight attacks Agnes and Mathis shoots the knight to save her, the two are forced to go on the run together, into the midst of the raging Peasants’ War. 

Over the next two years, as Agnes and Mathis travel the countryside, they are each captured by and escape from various factions of the war, participate in massive battles, make new friends both noble and peasant, and fall in love. Meanwhile, Agnes’s falcon finds a mysterious ring, and Agnes begins having strange, but seemingly meaningful dreams. Dreams that lead the two lovers to revelations about their place in the world and in the emerging German states. With The Castle of Kings,Oliver P√∂tzsch has written a historical yarn that calls to mind Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth and Bernard Cornwell’s Agincourt.

As a medieval enthusiast, I loved this story. What impressed me most was the depth and richness of the story that unfolded. First, the time period was a tumultuous one, with the German peasant class suffering greatly from the greed of the upper classes. The seeds of revolt had already been planted and were taking root. Next, it is a love story between a young woman, Agnes, of the upper classes with the son of a blacksmith named Mathis. Their love is doomed from the start. Next, historical details are mixed with fiction to create a realistic, nicely written tale. And lastly, there is a touch of mystery with a special ring and a pet falcon. Add to all that, a colorful cast of characters, and the end result was a long story that kept me fully engaged from start to finish.

This is a story that will appeal to both men and women and I can't wait for his next novel! 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog,, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit

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