Teaser Tuesday: The Song of Roland

Like the wheels on the bus going ’round and ’round, the Wheel of Time has turned ’round to Teaser Tuesday.

Just in case you don’t know, Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish theme, and anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share a few sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

This week I’m reading The Song of Roland, translated by Dorothy Sayers.

The Goodreads Blurb:

On 15 August 778, Charlemagne’s army was returning from a successful expedition against Saracen Spain when its rearguard was ambushed in a remote Pyrenean pass. Out of this skirmish arose a stirring tale of war, which was recorded in the oldest extant epic poem in French. The Song of Roland, written by an unknown poet, tells of Charlemagne’s warrior nephew, Lord of the Breton Marches, who valiantly leads his men into battle against the Saracens, but dies in the massacre, defiant to the end. In majestic verses, the battle becomes a symbolic struggle between Christianity and Islam, while Roland’s last stand is the ultimate expression of honour and feudal values of twelfth-century France.


The Truly Random Number Generator sends us to page 119:

Roland has set Olifant to his lips,
Firmly he holds it and blows it with a will.
High are the mountains, the blast is long and shrill,
Thirty great leagues the sound went echoing.  

song of roland cover


Four Stars to  Dark Full of Enemies by Jordan Poss

In the interest of full disclosure, I think it only fair to say I am a personal friend of the author.
tempimageforsave-1WWII novels are usually not my first choice for reading

material. Like many young history buffs, I was given a plethora of books at an early age and became burned out. Now, years later and with a history degree to my name, I’m once more developing an appreciation for these books.

In Dark Full of Enemies, Poss recounts a tale similar – but definitely not the same as – that of the now-famous dam-busters. One might expect the central conflict to be man-against-man. This conflict definitely exists, though the Allies-vs-Nazis conflict is more of a tangent rather than the conflict arc itself. Rather, the central conflict is man-against-himself, as protagonist Joe McKay seeks to reconcile himself to one of his team members.

In McKay, Poss writes a soldier in conflict with his senses of loyalty to country, duty to his mission, concern for his men, and dignity as an individual. The resolution to the conflict is satisfying, even if it has a whiff if blockbuster drama/thriller about it.

Though Dark Full of Enemies is fiction, the war it takes place in was all too real. I would recommend this book to those interested in World War II and/or historical fiction. Personally, Poss’ book has encouraged me to learn more about the Scandinavian campaigns.

If there is a drawback in this book, it is the propensity for Poss to switch between English and German terms for the same object, notably the Allied term “E-Boat” and the German “Schnellboot”.

I also felt that certain characters were somewhat flat given their importance to the plot, but that may be subject to artistic choice rather than an actual problem.

 


What are you reading today?

 

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