The year is 1429 and the English have been attempting to annex France since long before Joan can remember, and since 1419 trying to illegitimize its crown prince (the Dauphin). Joan, 17 years old and a pious young woman, runs away from home in order to attempt an impossible mission from God—have herself appointed as a French field general and lead her country to victory over the English. She knows she’s small in stature, of low birth, illiterate, and has no knowledge of war or politics. Nonetheless, like her hero, the Blessed Virgin Mary, she says “yes” to God and, determined to succeed, sets off to prevent a major English victory at Orléans.
Like Michael and Jeff Shaara’s historical fiction models, this book chronicles Joan’s every perilous step from the harsh road away from her parent’s farm to the Dauphin’s heavy-handed investigation to determine if she’s a witch or virgin. It also portrays the indignity she suffers at the royal court as well as the anger and hysteria among veteran French generals with the announcement of her elevation to knighthood. Then, at its heart, Maiden General takes readers through the week long Battle of Orléans—Joan’s failures, her wounds, her indomitable courage, and finally her impossible and miraculous victory.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10
This novel based on Joan of Arc has a descriptive and well-crafted setting, and dialogue that is not only true to the period, but also works to help develop each character. Based on real people and events, the story is well plotted, the characters fully developed -- and the author is true to history. This book will appeal and be an enjoyable read to lovers of historical fiction.
Date Submitted: June 06, 2016