GISBORNE started for fun, in instalments on her blog, Mesmered's Blog, and after a long work of research and editing, has now become a very interesting debut historical novel for Australian author Prue Batten. Mind you, this is not Ms Batten's  first publication,  but her debut in the historical fiction genre. Today GISBORNE has been released and it is available for Kindle at amazon.com (HERE).
I've  had the pleasure and honour to read it before its publication and - do I need to say it? - I loved it! This is my review. No major spoiler, don't worry. And by the way, there is a giveaway contest linked to this post. Read the details below if you want to get a chance to win your copy of GISBORNE!

‘And all shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.’
Julian of Norwich

Richard Armitage as Gisborne (BBC Robin Hood 2006)
When you first meet him astride his steed and with his proud demeanour, he feels compassion, not pity, for Lady Ysabel. He is Gisborne, her father’s steward come to escort her home from Aquitaine after her mother’s death. With his black hair, his blue eyes and his visceral voice, he immediately fascinates you and, like Ysabel of Moncrieff, you want to know more about this man.
It is not Guy of Gisborne from Child  Ballad  (#118), the big man “clad in his capull-hyde topp and tayll and mayne” who Robin Hood easily dispatches, but a rewritten gripping hero. The author was inspired by the character from the BBC Robin Hood (2006/2009) and with the sensitive contribution of Richard Armitage but there the similarity ends.
No Robin Hood nor merry men exist in Prue Batten’s tale set in the final years of the 12th century, the years of Henry II’s sons, Prince Richard and Prince John, both aspiring to the throne of England. And Gisborne is not the  Sheriff’s second-in-command. A dark character, maybe. A complex round figure definitely. You can find echoes of the Gisborne you’ve seen in the BBC series, fighting for status and power, with his conflicting attempts to redeem himself for love, with a temptestous temper and a troubled soul, vulnerable but strongly proud at the same time. But he lives again in the pages of a totally new story with a different background and an utterly new heroine to love – Ysabel of Moncrieff.

New look for BBC Gisborne (2009)
Gisborne and Ysabel will be side by side in a long journey, an unfolding ride through Aquitaine and England, filled with unwanted self discovery and unwilling bonding with each other. Theirs is not a smooth, easy relationship. It will be taunted by her prejudices and lack of trust in him and his unwillingness to open to her. However, they will not be able to loose that strong, instinctive tie made of lust, passion and empathy.  She will have to face her mother’s death, her father’s financial ruin, the marriage to a brutal man, and she must grow up while trying to drown her memories of Gisborne in a sea of misunderstanding, rage and mistrust. She is sure he sold her to Benedict De Courcey, the man who ruined her father. She should only hate Gisborne but it will not be as simple as that.

If a flaw is to be found, I have one: Ysabel is more than once hosted by nuns in her journey. They help her, protect her, sympathize with her in a profusion of loving care and solidarity. Their monasteries are idyllic places and they are the perfect embodiment of Christian love. The idea I have of medieval monasteries is much influenced by my previous readings (18th century Gothic novels, Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose  or Alessandro Manzoni's Nun of Monza; a historical character he included in his Betrothed). The idyllic picture Batten paints doesn't correspond with anything I've read in historical fiction.

Nuns apart, GISBORNE is a new page-turner by Australian author Prue Batten. No mesmers this time, nor Færan living in Eirie, no companies of djinns, afrits and siofras as we met in A Thousand Glass Flowers. Stepping far from fantasy, she is launching her first historical fiction/historical romance.

But she can really create magic with words. Her rich, refined prose creates an embroidered picture full of little delightful details, stitch after stitch. This is not any fan-fiction attempt, but a historical novel, carefully and thoroughly researched (medieval legend, poetry, ancient Irish myths, historical figures like Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard and John Plantagenet, detailed description of medieval life) as well as  preciously crafted.
If it is to be called fan-fiction at all, it is front-rank, de luxe.


Leaving a comment + your e-mail address you can win an e- book copy of Prue Batten's brand new GISBORNEOpen worldwide, this giveaway contest ends on March 5th.


April said...

Is this book only available as Kindle book or can we buy it as papeback or hardback ?

Thanks for your information.

Maria Grazia said...

Gisborne is only available for kindle now, but will be released in print in May, April.

April said...

Oh, it's great Grazia. :-)

I have an ebook, but it's a Sony Reader and it only reads EPUB, not Kindle format.

Maria Grazia said...

You're welcome, April. You could download "kindle for computer", if you don't want to wait till May. It is free.

Suwaida said...

A solid review: intriguing and critical! And a worldwide giveaway of a novel I've been waiting for! I hope you have a giveaway for the paperback format. Thanks MG!


Maria Grazia said...

I can ask the author, Prue Batten, if we can arrange something for May, when the book comes out in print. Thanks for your interest, Suwaida.

Terry said...

I love historical fiction and this one sounds like a goodie! Please enter me.

tmrtini at gmail dot com

MonicaP said...

I love the premise of this! It may be a somewhat different Gisbourne but I will definitely be envisioning RA when reading it (how could you not?)

Thanks for the giveaway!
monicaperry00 at gmail dot com

mulubinba said...

I loved the beginning chapters Prue published on her blog last year. I don't have kindle, so will look forward to the release of the book in print :)

Carolynd1 said...

I read historical romances on my Kindle every day and this one sounds like one I would love to read. Thanks for the review. Really makes me want to read this. I always picture RA as the hero in my books. What a treat to have him named Gisborne, even if he is a bit different.

Maria Grazia said...

For those who have not a kindle, you can download "kindle for your PC" for free. It is easy and fast and you have the chance to read millions of books on your lap/PC.


I'm still in love with the printed book, I'd never exchange an e-book for a real paper book, but I couldn't resist the chance to get so many texts and so easily. I don't have a portable Kindle reader, but Kindle for PC.

Prue Batten said...

everyone, thank you so much for responding. Maria has answered your questions well but if i could just add:

it will be available for all other e-readers (Sony, Nook, Kobo, i-Pad etc) by next week and also available for Kindle via Amazon.co.uk by the end of this week.

The print version will be released in May and without doubt Maria will have a copy for giveaway then. But you may have to answer a very hard question or some such to win it!
Thank you to Maria for reviewing and all the best to everyone

Maria Grazia said...

@Prue Batten
A quiz? Brilliant! I love the idea of having a quiz and a giveaway. I can't wait to have the real, solid, paper object on my very special RA-related shelf. "I will treasure it" ;-)

Literary Chanteuse said...

Sounds quite intriguing. As Maria as recommended it I'm in. Thank you for the giveaway!


Lauren Gilbert said...

This sounds excellent! I do have Kindle for PC! Please put me in the giveaway.

Mystica said...

Dont count me in as I cannot use an ebook but would wait for you to give away a paperback later!!!

Fanny/iz4blue said...

So exciting to see a book published after watching it grow from blogposts into a full fledged publication! Count me in! I love kindle! I read it via the free app on iPad - iPhone
Fannythornton - at - gmx - dot - com

BeckyC said...

Sounds intriguing! Thank you for the giveaway! cherringtonmb(at)sbcglobal(dot)net

Greg said...

I read this during its writing and it's a great read - the best Prue has done so far -

Phylly3 said...

I would love to read Prue's book. It sounds amazing!

Mersguy said...

Sounds very interesting, would love to read it. Count me in!

Anonymous said...

Scusa Maria Grazia, non mi azzardo a scrivere in inglese per non fare strafalcioni, ma mi interesserebbe la versione cartacea di questo romanzo, avendolo scoperto insieme al tuo bellissimo blog grazie a La mia biblioteca romantica. Per caso hai qc notizia???
grazie e ciao Maristella

Maria Grazia said...

Allora, Maristella, sembra che Gisborne sarà pubblicato in formato cartaceo entro la fine di settembre.
Ti consiglio di seguire il blog di Prue Batten che non mancherà di tenerci aggiornate sulle news relative al suo libro.
Per dicembre è prevista l'uscita del sequel!