My review of Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler
My rating 5 out of 5 stars
My mother used to have the habit, when she finished a book of closing it up and saying, ‘By heck, I enjoyed that’. When I finished Terry Tyler’s Kings and Queens I had a ‘by heck’ moment.
I only discovered Terry Tyler’s novels last year, they are true page-turners and I’ve enjoyed each one. This book, Kings and Queens, is both a family saga and a clever contemporary take on history; Harry Lanchester lives a hedonistic life that, in many ways, parallels that of Henry VIII. He might not order the death of his wives and lovers but they are just as easily discarded, he is portrayed as a patriarch and is at the centre of his world. And that world is filled with everything that makes up ‘real life’ today; stable families, dysfunctional families, erratic individuals, stable characters, revenge and bitterness, love and caring, sex, lust, romance, death and grief, even murder – the list is endless and multi layered.
Normally I say I don’t include spoilers in my reviews but the background, the general plot in Kings and Queens is obviously a given. Yet the narrative is so original and innovative, it is easy for the reader to sit back and enjoy the modern-day twists and turns that the author conjures up as though the story is completely unknown.
As usual, Terry Tyler presents characters that are rounded, well drawn and given so many different facets to their personalities that it is easy to cheer with them, be irritated by them and to suffer with them. Through the various individualistic voices of the characters (and the dialogue is brilliantly written) the author takes us, chapter by chapter through the story. This is a particularly favourite writing style for me as a reader. Told in the first person point of view, there is always the slight suspicion (or knowledge?) that the narrator is sometimes unreliable; this certainly made me slow down and think about some passages, even though I so much wanted to know what happened next.
Kings and Queens covers the decades of the nineteen-seventies to the present time. The author’s research on each era is impeccable; every setting is drawn with subtle touches through the business economy, the fashions, the communities, the music, the social scene.
This is a stand-alone novel but I knew there was a sequel, Last Child, so I read both in quick succession. The review for , Last Child will follow soon. As for Kings and Queens, all I can say is that I was hooked from the first page and cannot recommend it highly enough.
Can’t say it too often -by heck I enjoyed it!