Clovis, King of the Franks by John W. Currier. ISBN-10: 0-87462-052-X. Paper. 332 pp. $20. Generously illustrated with numerous maps. Glossary. Bibliography.
In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, Rome had fallen and chroniclers were few. Much of the information they passed along to us, whether in the form of story or song, history or fiction, was offered with a specific goal in mind, such as defending the authority of the Church or confirming the power of God. In this time, before France was France, in the days of Gaul, a proud people known as Franks, played a dominant role in the history of that place. The young chieftain, Clovis, became instrumental as Gaul was transformed into France.
The writings of Gregory of Tours give us the most important record of the significant events in the life of Clovis, King of the Franks, though his account is sometimes more fantasy than fact. Still, through his efforts, and the efforts of others, like Fredegar and the anonymous writer of the Liber Historiae Francorum, we have the building blocks necessary to construct a story about Clovis.
Readers will face the problem of trying to understand a culture not their own. Some might find it surprising, for example, that in the time of Clovis, married priests could still be found and bishops were occasionally succeeded by their sons. That is but one example of the many and varied dilemmas a modern reader might face when opening a book dealing with the early Middle Ages. Perhaps it is best to surrender to the predicament and move on.
Medieval historians acknowledge how difficult it is to establish a reliable chronology for this time. I have seen the same difficulty and have tried to place the significant events of the story in an appropriate way. Many conversations had to be invented, along with a few characters. All that has been invented, however, is intended to support the spirit of the historical record and is, hopefully, reasonable and entertaining.
In researching Clovis, I discovered a story well worth telling. It is a sweeping tale of romance, treachery, and adventure. It is a story that deserves to be told, not only because of its significance, but also because it is, very simply, a good story.~ From the author’s Preface
Online review, June 24, 2010, by T. J. Miller
Another exceptionally good book by a lesser known author
"A very good bit of historical fiction on Clovis king of the Franks and his rise to power in the late 5th century. Covers his early battle with Syagrius one of the last Roman rulers in Gaul and although he is no Steven Pressfield in battle scenes the novel has been well researched and is a very good read. Concentrates quite a bit on Clotild being a Christian and Clovis' conversion. Value for money and better than some from the better known authors."