Pepin’s Bastard: The Story of Charles Martel (Charlemagne Trilogy, #2)

ISBN: 0966150414
ISBN 13: 9780966150414
By: Diana M. Johnson

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About this book

Charlemagne's pivotal reign is still some distance in the future when Charles, the bastard son of Mayor of the Palace, Pepin de Gros, is born. Pepin's jealous wife, Plectruda, will stop at nothing to see Charles dead, thus saving the power behind the throne for her own legitimate sons. Somehow Charles must survive and gain the power to face the Muslims who are, even now, pouring over the Pyrenees Mountains, determined to wipe Christianity off the face of the land.

Reader's Thoughts


Novel of the Middle Ages and Charles The Bastard aka The Hammer aka Martel. Great characters, adventure, and moral. Easy enjoyable read with moments of suspense (first with barbarians and then with the Muslims), great love, and true virtue. Truly one of the most remarkable man in Christendom. This is a trilogy of which this is the 2nd book (unbeknownst to me at the time) and I have ordered the other two books.

Normal Everyday

Biased and opinionated drivel. Fact checking severely needed. Personal biased opinion and fiction added in leu of known and reported facts - whether they contradict or not. I could almost understand if it was intended as a purely fictional novel. Instead it ends up an overdramatized personal opinion in stark contrast to known facts and reports. I'm surprised she didn't add in Darth Vader leading an oposing force.


Set approximately 1300 years ago, this historical novel is about Charles, born of an illegitimate relationship. His father, Pepin de Gros, is Mayor of the Castle in Cologne (the real authority), and Plectruda, his wife, is past childbearing age. Charles is born to Alpaida, one of the servant girls. Plectruda is irate, and even though Charles’ claim to the throne is tiny, she makes sure that he never gets anywhere near it. Growing up, Charles is teased and tormented about his parentage by the other children. Always called Pepin’s Bastard instead of Charles, it gets to the point where he might as well make that his legal name.In his early teens, he is sent to a faraway castle, run by a man named Dodo, to learn how to be a soldier. He spends his winters at the monastery at Metz to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, a rarity. He marries, and starts a family, knowing that if Plectruda gets her hands on any of them, their life span will be very short. Charles rises through the ranks at the castle, becoming Captain of the Guard. Meantime, the throne in Cologne keeps changing hands, usually through assassination. One night, Charles receives the wife and teenage daughter of Grimwald, the latest occupant of the throne and one of Plectruda’s sons. They tell a harrowing tale of fleeing at night, with just the clothes on their backs. Charles and the daughter have a child and get married, almost wrecking his marriage to Rotruda, his wife, but there is a reason for it.Around the year 700, the Franks in northern Europe were a bunch of disorganized tribes, constantly attacking each other. Charles unites them under his banner, and takes the name Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer). The book ends with the first battles with a heretofore unknown group, the Muslims, coming from the southwest.This is a gem of a book. As much as possible, it is based on historical fact. The author can trace her ancestry back to this time period, to a man named Pepin the Vain (read part 1 of this trilogy). It’s interesting, very well done and recommended.

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