Indubitably, the history of human civilization has been saturated with warfare. Whether it be small skirmishes or full-blown world conflict… war has touched every single generation. We see it discussed and analyzed in depth throughout various history books and literature. Also, many of us learned about many of the key battles while we were in school. However, what is frequently missing in such analysis is the human element. How were the different players actually feeling? What were their hopes and dreams? Conversely- what were their greatest fears? In short, we seldom get to experience the human emotions which accompanied such great conflicts. In author Gemma Lawrence’s novel, Invincible, we are given an opportunity to do just that! A beautiful piece of historical fiction which provides a very human element to the brutal reality of warfare and death.
Invincible is Book Eight in the Elizabeth of England Chronicles. Essentially, it focuses upon the attempted invasion of England by the seemingly invincible Spanish Armada. King Phillip was livid with England for their constant interference in Spanish interests, not to mention his desire to convert England from Protestantism back to the Catholic Church of Rome. He held a deep contempt for Elizabeth and was holding a grudge which needed to be settled. Aware that an overwhelming force was bearing down on England, Elizabeth hastily begins to prepare for their defense. Key players such as the crafty pirate, Francis Drake, are quickly recruited to meet and repel the Armada. No easy task for a Navy which is ill-supplied and so badly outnumbered. If the Spanish manage to land on English soil, their sheer numbers will lead to a devastating defeat for England, and the end of the line for Elizabeth. Can they manage to repel the awesome invaders? Or are they bound for death and destruction on a scale nobody had ever imagined?
As this is the first work I have read by this author, I really did not know what to expect. I must say- I thoroughly enjoyed the novel from start to finish. The writing was fluid and beautifully crafted. It was full of breathtaking scenes which created vivid images within my “reading mind”. At times, I felt as if I was onboard the ships and experiencing the sheer terror of the events right alongside the various characters. This is no easy feat for an author to accomplish. It is a fascinating story which Ms. Lawrence has built from real historical events. Fiction though it may be… the amount of research the author has conducted to tell this story is blatantly obvious. She has used that arsenal of information to create a top-notch novel!
Further, the many different characters who are portrayed in the novel are fully developed and come across as completely authentic and genuine. I particularly enjoyed the multiple points of view which were used. This is a key technique which allows the reader to experience and understand the motivations and emotions the various characters were experiencing. Elizabeth, Phillip, Drake, Sidonia, and Howard all allowed us access to their innermost thoughts. In doing so, we were able to not only see the strategies involved in ruling and warfare… but ultimately the heartbreak and devastation which accompanied this. Indeed, war is by no means glorified in this novel. Instead, it is presented in all its inherent cruelty and injustice… ultimately leaving no winners at the end. I am sure the Narrator- otherwise known as Death- would surely agree with me!
5 out of 5 Invincible Stars for this one!