Alert to Sharon Kay Penman fans....the 3rd book in her Angevin trilogy is out! Devil's Brood follows Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, & the revolting eaglets ROFL as the boys grow up & become obnoxious & just plain greedy. Though it's fiction, Alison Weir ought to be read it to get some pointers, because Penman's fiction is always beautifully done & meticulously researched.
We all know the story, so I shan't bore you with all the details of the tale. The bit about HIIs penance at Canterbury was very well-done, with Penman assigning him the motivation, after Becket's canonization, to plead to St Thomas to help him smack his dysfunctional family back in line.
The deaths of Henry the Young King & Geoffrey were heartrendingly done, showing the stark grief of their parents & reminding the reader that yes, these were real people with real feelings; Richard is shown as sort of sociopathic in his total lack of empathy for this & barely restraining jumping up & down for glee at the thought of his inheritance increasing by leaps & bounds. It was rather sad that by the time "Hal" died, HII no longer trusted him to the point that when word came the Young King was dying, he wouldn't go for fear of yet another "mistaken" assassination attempt. The complexity of his realtionship with Eleanor was also dealt with superbly.
Excellent as all Penman's novels are You can now let out a sigh of relief that it got finished (when Stephen King got hit by that truck the 1st thng I thought of was OH NO HE HASN'T FINISHED THE GUNSLINGER SAGA YET!!! ROFL).
Query as regards medieval things medical....it's generally accepted that the Young King, whilst warring against Richard in Aquitaine, died of "the bloody flux", what we would call dysentary nowadays. It's caused by a parasitic infection from drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated food & characterized by high fever & bloody diarrhea. Not a pretty way to go at all, yuck. But in Devil's Brood (yes FA knows it's fiction), Penman had William Marshal & the rest of Hal's buddies give off a sigh of relief when the fever dropped after 3 days & the kid's bowels were purged out. She then went on to describe how they thought he would get better (dysentery was not necessarily an immediate death sentence even without antibiotics, especially in a young man of exceptionally good health, though it could recur if the parasite wasn't ejected so to speak), but the fever never completely went away, he lost the ability to sweat, & was exceptionally thirsty, & could keep no solid food down; all in all about a week or so to die. I looked up dysentery & none of that stuff is mentioned, but some of it sounds almost diabetic. Medically speaking, would it be possible to damage the pancreas from all that uncontrollable voiding with no nourishment taken in, do you think? And then die not from the dysentery, but diabetes, because he was already in such a debilitated condition & kept throwing up? Just wondering as I do