February 20, 2014
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Birthright,

by T K Roxborogh (Penguin, RRP $35):

Birthright is the third book in the Banquo’s Son trilogy.

Fleance, the son in question, is now king of Scotland.

He is married and his wife, Rachael, is pregnant with an heir. All should be well, with his claim to rule seemingly secure. Alas, he of course, is in for stormy weather.

An illness is starting to spread plague-like across the land.

His wife’s own pregnancy is troubled by nausea and this is seen as an evil sign. Rumours of evil omens and the unease of some regarding the legitimacy of his royal position, are the cause of an armed rebellion.

T K Roxborogh is a Dunedin-based author and educator with a self-confessed passion for Shakespeare’s work. The story owes its origins to MacBeth and is purposely written in that style. So, in effect, it’s a stylised historical novel which tells a fair tale.

I hadn’t read the previous two but found the introduction helpful and the story engaging enough. I did, however, feel that there was something missing. I enjoyed the premise of the what-might-have-happened-next and the plot was suitable but the delivery maybe wasn’t detailed enough with period minutiae.

Of course, that is more than slightly unfair as the author states from the outset the form and style and as such it is successful.

F Mulligan

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