Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Pepin's Bastard

Diana M. Johnson

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Superior Book Publishing Co.

Published : 1999

Copyright : Diana M. Johnson 1999

ISBN-10 : PB 0-96615-041-4
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-96615-041-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Charlemagne's grandfather, Charles Martel, is the bastard son of Mayor of the Palace, Pepin de Gros. Pepin's jealous wife, Plectruda, will stop at nothing to see Charles dead, thus saving the power behind the Merovingian throne for her own offspring.

Surviving, Charles gathers an army of barbarian foot soldiers. Armed with lances and casting axes, they face the unstoppable Muslim cavalry, pouring over the Pyrenees Mountains, determined to wipe Christianity off the face of the land.

Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Paul Lappen (180207) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
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 (See Destiny’s Godchild, the first book of this trilogy). It’s interesting, very well done and recommended.
Paul Lappen (18th February 2007)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends