The First Sir Percy
The First Sir Percy, the sequel to The Laughing Cavalier, by Baroness Orczywas first published in 1921. I should have read The Laughing Cavalier first as I found the first chapters of the sequel a little difficult to follow. However, this did not spoil my enjoyment of the novel.
The First Sir Percy is set in the Netherlands in March 1624 “a torn land divided between loyalty for Maurice of Nassau and the Spanish invaders.
“Fighting for the Maurice of Nassau is a man known to many as Diogenes, but whose real name is Sir Percy Blakeney. A gay devil may care cavalier and the first in a long line of famous Blakeneys.”
Loyal to the Maurice of Nassau, the Stadtholder, on the very evening of his marriage instead of taking his bride, Gilda, to England, Sir Percy must set off on a mission to thwart the Spanish Invasion. Yet he yearns to take his bride away: “Across the ocean to that stately home in England where in the spring the air was soft with the scent of violets and of fruit blossom, and where beside the river the reeds mumured a soft accompaniment to songs of passion and hymns of love.”
Thoughout this novel of the hero, good men and women and villains Sir Percy’s beautiful young bride remains loyal to him even in the most difficult circumstances.
I know little about the Netherlands at this period of history and even less about the Veluwe, at that time a land with a string of swamps with a ridge of hills covered with forests, heathland and woodland, in which part of The First Sir Percy is set.
There are many excellent descriptions in the novel, one of which is:-“Even now the wintry sun was sinking slowly down in the west in a haze of purple and rose, licking the towers of St. Maria and Joris with glistening tongues of fire, and tinting the snow-covered roofs and gables with a rosy hue. The sluggish waters of the Eem appeared like a liquid flame.”
The style of the novel written from the author’s viewpoint is old-fashioned but it did not deter me. All in all a satisfying read.
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