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The Heaven Tree Trilogy Omnibus: The Heaven Tree, the Green Branch, the… (1994)

av Edith Pargeter

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
420644,647 (4.33)27
Together in one volume, this book contains The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed - tales of 13th-century master stone carver Harry Talvace and the church he builds.

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Pargeter well known as writer of Cadfael - found this at the Bookery in Placerville (je pense) around 2002 - best guess from papers within - still to read 5.5.20
  Overgaard | May 5, 2020 |
Edith Pargeter’s Heaven Tree Trilogy is special historical fiction. There is no other way to say it.

The story follows Harry Talvace, a norman aristocrat who eschews his heritage to pursue his passion as a stonemason. Talvace is hired by the Marcher lord Ralf Isambard to build a cathedral on his estates bordering Wales. The seemingly brutal Isambard is both in awe and at the same time jealous of the grace and talent of the supposedly lesser man, who also happens to have captured the admiration of Isambard’s Venetian mistress Madonna Benedetta (another excellent character). A fateful love triangle ensues, inevitably leading to tragedy, and to the greater story of vengeance and ultimate redemption beautifully played out in the second and third volumes (the Green Branch and the Scarlet Seed).

Readers familiar with the Cadfael mysteries written under the Pargeter's nom de plume, Ellis Peters, will find the Heaven Tree Trilogy different in tone. It is grittier, more dense, perhaps more profound, and just as excellent to my mind. As with her other work, Pargeter portrays the historic period in vivid and loving detail. Her prose and characters are superb and a standard against which I measure all historic fiction.

I first came across the Heaven Tree Trilogy in the early 90s when living in London. I have revisited it several times since.

Very, very highly recommended. ( )
1 rösta AndrewGaddes | Dec 6, 2018 |
I have only read The Heaven Tree so far. It is the story of Henry Talvace, a young man of high ideals in a world where they are not welcome. It takes place in the 1200s near Shrewsbury, England and focuses on his dedication and genius in architecture, specifically the style known as Free Leaf. His heart's desire is to build a church of his own design, and he is given that chance when he meets up with Lord Isambard, a noble with holdings on the border country of Wales and England. However, Isambard is an exacting master who does not take well to being disobeyed, and although their natures have many likenesses, the differences will tear them apart when their ideals clash.
An excellent story. Personally, I enjoyed the bits about the building of the church the most, although Pargeter makes the times come alive as well. She manages to show how horrible some aspects of life were without making you dredge through the muck. She also shows how lovely some aspects of life were as well. I did not find myself really drawn to any of the characters, but this might be my state of mind more than the author's writing. It certainly moved me at the end of the story, and I couldn't put it down until I was finished at one o'clock in the morning. Finished this book 7-15-14. ( )
1 rösta MrsLee | Jul 16, 2014 |
Wonderful historical novel set in the Welsh border lands during the reigns of Llywellyn I and King John in the 13th century. The author weaves her theme of betrayal, revenge, exile and reconciliation and redemption throughout the stories at various levels of the society. It's a captivating book -- especially the growth of the relationship between Ralf Isambard and young Harry Talvace. ( )
  lothiriel2003 | Nov 29, 2009 |
The first book in the trilogy, The Heaven Tree, tells the story of master stonemason Harry Talvace as he is hired by Ralf Isambard to build him a great cathedral at Parfois along the Welsh Marches. Isambard also brings courtesan Benedetta along with him as mistress, although he is unaware that Benedetta bears a lifelong unrequited love for Harry. Harry makes a desperate choice to save a child from hanging that has dire consequences for himself, his wife and Benedetta, although Harry returns to his commitment to complete the cathedral despite the sentence of a traitor's death hanging over him.

The Green Branch, the second book in the trilogy takes up the story of Master Harry's son (also called Harry) who has been raised in Wales as a foster son to Prince Llewellyn. Harry is unknowingly drawn into the adulterous affair between Llewellyn's wife Joan (also known as Joanna) and William de Braose, and as a result of the scandal Harry flees Llewellyn's court and heads to Parfois to enact his revenge against Isambard for his father's death, but fifteen year old Harry is no match for Isambard and is taken prisoner. Ralph refuses to ransom Harry back to his family, and eventually the hatred that first existed between the two sworn enemies develops into something very different and unexpected to both men.

In the final book, The Scarlet Seed, Harry continues to learn the masonry craft of his father whilst still being held prisoner by Isambard. Desperate to free Harry, Benedetta offers Isambard another hostage, one he cannot refuse, but a choice unacceptable to Benedetta's servant John the Fletcher. John makes an attempt on Ralph's life that takes a tragic turn, and as a consequence the jailer now becomes the prisoner in his own home. As the Marches explode into civil war, the Welsh storm the unassailable Parfois and the fates of Isambard, Madonna Benedetta and Master Harry are forever entwined through eternity.

While the start of The Heaven Tree may be a bit too slow paced for some readers, Pargeter's beautiful prose and lyrical writing is one to sit back and slowly savor like a fine red wine or chocolate (or both!!) and I highly recommend this for any lover of medieval fiction. It's not quite as perfect a read for me as Penman's Here Be Dragons, but pretty darn close, and that final scene in the cathedral between Isambard, Benedetta and Master Harry (I'm not telling!) was nothing short of perfection. Five stars. ( )
2 rösta Misfit | May 10, 2009 |
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Together in one volume, this book contains The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed - tales of 13th-century master stone carver Harry Talvace and the church he builds.

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