Review: The King’s Retribution by Mercedes Rochelle

Today, I have a treat for all our readers who love an extra sprinkling of history in their historical novels: The King’s Retribution by Mercedes Rochelle, the second novel in her Plantagenet Legacy series about King Richard II of England. 

If you’re interested in medieval English history, then you’ll find this series a treat! 

The first novel, A King Under Siege, ends with Richard gaining his maturity, having quashed a rebellion by several lords trying to retain their hold over him.  I would recommend you read the novels in order, to get the full picture, although the author adds plenty of reference in The King’s Retribution for you to follow what had gone on before. But as a curious reader, you may wish to read in chronological order.

The King’s Retribution shows Richard’s struggles as his reign continues. Uncertain who to trust, he erects a wall of those he considers trustworthy around him, but will they remain so? In order to understand his concerns, you need to look back at King Edward III and his brood of sons and grandchildren, all with their own aspirations and plans. 

Richard wants to trust his uncles, the dukes of Lancaster and York, whose offspring are waiting in the wings to take his place, if needed. To secure his hold on the crown, he becomes more autonomous, overruling counsel where it suits him, and rarely calling meetings. This puts him at odds with the nobility. John of Gaunt, the duke of Lancaster in particular is a threat due to his extensive property, although Richard can’t prove any misdemeanour by him. But as for Gaunt’s son, Henry Bolingbroke... When a chance opens up, Richard acts fast. But in doing so, he inadvertently allows an opening that has fatal consequences.

Throughout the novel, we see Richard’s own uncertainties, his worries. He brought peace to England through a treaty with France, yet his nobles want war. Peace doesn’t make money. And with a young French child bride, it would still be years until he can hope for an heir. So his position is still precarious.

The author portrays Richard closely to the records we hold of him. He was changing his mind, suspicious of everyone and ready to convey a death sentence or exile on those who purportedly supported him so far. 

Mercedes Rochelle has really dug deep in her research to find the true face of Richard II.

As with his namesake, Richard III, the propaganda spouted by chroniclers following the usurpation of the throne by Henry Bolingbroke, the later King Henry IV, shows the volatile side of Richard’s character. But in how far that was truly his character remains in the shadows of time. 

 I was very impressed with her knowledge of the more minute historical details as well as the terminology of daily life. The author sets the scene brilliantly, and it’s very easy to visualise the setting, the surroundings, and particularly the politics.

I found The King’s Retribution a fascinating read. I went away thinking about an era I hadn’t really looked into. And the in-depth storytelling reveals much of Richard’s life and the dangers he faced. 

A gripping historical novel full of plots and political intrigues. 

My thanks goes to Mary Anne Yarde of The Coffee Pot Book Club and to the author, Mercedes Rochelle, for a free copy of her novel. All views are my own.


The King’s Retribution
Book 2 of The Plantagenet Legacy
By Mercedes Rochelle


If you read A KING UNDER SIEGE, you might remember that we left off just as Richard declared his majority at age 22. He was able to rise above the humiliation inflicted on him during the Merciless Parliament, but the fear that it could happen again haunted him the rest of his life.

Ten years was a long time to wait before taking revenge on your enemies, but King Richard II was a patient man. Hiding his antagonism toward the Lords Appellant, once he felt strong enough to wreak his revenge he was swift and merciless. Alas for Richard, he went too far, and in his eagerness to protect his crown Richard underestimated the very man who would take it from him: Henry Bolingbroke.

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Author Bio and Social Media:

Mercedes Rochelle

Born in St. Louis MO with a degree from University of Missouri, Mercedes Rochelle learned about living history as a re-enactor and has been enamored with historical fiction ever since. A move to New York to do research and two careers ensued, but writing fiction remains her primary vocation. She lives in Sergeantsville, NJ with her husband in a log home they had built themselves.

Connect with Mercedes: Website • Blog • Facebook • Twitter


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