The Heart of the Conqueror

The Chronicles of Matilda, Lady of Flanders, Book 1
Narrated by: Marnye Young
Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
4 out of 5 stars (183 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

October 14, 1066. Two armies converge to decide the fate of England....  

The most famous date in English history, when the might of the English Saxons faced the wrath of the Norman invasion. The man who stormed the sands of Sussex was William, bastard duke of Normany, the man they eventually came to call the Conqueror.... 

But the heart of the conqueror was Matilda, lady of Flanders and duchess of Normandy. At the side of the most famous warlord of history, Matilda worked, not as a quiet, modest wife, but as a leader...as a ruler just as ruthless as her husband. Under her soft mask of beauty and modesty there lay the heart of a woman powered by ambition. A woman who was strong, courageous, and devious.... 

Through the eyes of one of the most extraordinary women of history unfold the events leading to the invasion of England and the battle that would decide its fate....  

This is the story of Matilda, lady of Flanders, duchess of Normandy, and queen of England.  

Contains mature themes.

©2017 Gemma Lawrence (P)2018 Tantor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Obnoxious

This book was a ridiculous bodice-ripper. If you’d like to listen to constant descriptions of William and Matilda having rough sex, and hear Matilda refer to William as “my husband” in a smug tone over and over, than this book is for you. Matilda was written (and narrated) in such a conceited, haughty manner that I grew to wish the Saxons won in 1066. Garbage historical fiction.

18 people found this helpful

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Porn

I was expecting a historical novel and what I got was basically porn. Even the reader sounds like she belongs in an X rated movie. Worst book I’ve ever gotten from audible.

7 people found this helpful

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Romance novel/Penthouse forum w/ historical drama

I love, LOVE, historical dramas. Poldark, Wolf Hall, etc. I’m half way through this book and i’m really starting to get annoyed. I get it. Matilda was BEAUTIFUL. She craved POWER. Got it. I bet there’s been at least 1 1/2 hours of the same narration over and over again. Matilda KNOWS she beautiful. Matilda likes rough sex with her husband. Over and over again. Matilda does not have an insecure bone in her body. She manipulates William through sex which is no surprise. I understand that in those times, the ruling elite were self important and arrogant. They believed they were superior to the little people because God “favored” them through birth. The story is getting monotonous. The sex scenes are becoming more and more as it seems the author is not creative enough to find a different storyline. I will finish the novel. If my opinion changes I’ll edit this review. But I’m becoming more disappointed with this novel as it progresses. It’s more romance novel and penthouse forum than historical drama.

21 people found this helpful

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Courageous Heart

LOVED how the author has uniquely shown how Matilda chose to marry William despite circumstances a bride todsy would find appalling! A new and fresh look at the first Queen of England and all her struggles and human qualities as well as the great liove she had for husband and her children. Look forward to a sequal.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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listen at 1.25 speed

The story is great, the book needed some serious editing. It is soooooo exhaustingly repetitive and the person reading the book overprounces everything. I found that listening at 1.25 speed helped a lot. If you can get through some of the annoying parts, the story is not bad, but I was rolling my eyes a lot when the sex scenes kept coming.

3 people found this helpful

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Well researched, lacks heart

I admire Matilda and have enjoyed reading about her for years. The author has done a wonderful job weaving an imagined tale containing authentic details of medieval life.

I loved the narrator’s voice. The tone and inflection was so arrogantly irritating I couldn’t complete the recorded version.

3 people found this helpful

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Good Lordy ....Royalty most bawdy

STORY: If I wasn’t such a medieval bookworm I would have stopped listening early on as the embellished coupling scenarios isn’t why I wanted to hear this book. I compare it to the comedian that tells potty jokes because they lack true comedic talent. The dates and players matched with my impression of who did what and when; yes, but ... that is all I gleaned from this book. PERFORMANCE: Narrator was overly haughty and spoke like a middle aged prude, so the intimate encounters where really quite funny. OVERALL: A shallow story that benefited from true historical facts.

2 people found this helpful

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loved it

what a wonderful story looking forward to the second book in the series . you should definitely read this

8 people found this helpful

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Probably a good story but.....

The narrator of this book has or has effected the most annoying “upper class” accent I’ve ever heard. I managed to limp through the first hour or so in the hope the story would overtake the narration. But eventually another 16 hours of her was just too much & I dumped it.

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting story but a bit obnoxious

Fascinating historical fiction and excellent narrative performance. However, the focus on Matilda’s sex life was excessive and not what I look for in a historical fiction (also very embarrassing when my family overheard a graphic sex scene while I was cooking and listening to the story). I was surprised to learn that the author is a woman, since the numerous sex scenes and pervy descriptions of her body made me almost 100% certain that a man wrote this novel. Matilda’s constant, repetitive praise of her own beauty was honestly absurd— to the point that laughed out loud several times because it seemed like a parody of a shallow actress/model/“socialite.” I can’t imagine anyone describing themselves in the way Matilda’s character does in real life. However, this didn’t necessarily make me dislike the character and I learned to zone out during these long moments of self praise (she’s just being Matilda, ya’ll!). Overall, I recommend the novel because Matilda’s story is definitely a fascinating one!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-29-18

Good story; some detail overdone; great narration



I purchased the audio version of the book. Overall, there is much to commend the story but I found a few aspects annoyingly distracting from what is otherwise a powerful narrative. I love historical fiction and especially this period. On the positive side, the story gives a fresh slant to the momentous events of 1066 and their lead-up. The historical facts, as far as we know them, are generally woven nicely with Lawrence's imagination and well written, although I felt the depiction of Harold to be one dimensional. However, quite often, I found the narrative bogged down in unnecessary description about Matilda, eg gratuitous sex (I must be getting old) and her focus on her personal appearance and clothing. Matilda comes across to me as a narcissist. I'm not sure if that's what Lawrence intended. While one shouldn't read a book by its cover, the image of Matilda on the audio book cover doesn't help, as she looks like someone from a cosmetics commercial. If I had a hard copy, I would edit by skipping pages; this isn't as easy with an unabridged recording. Despite these issues, I really enjoyed Young's narration. She takes on a range of characters: female, male; mature, young; different socio-economic backgrounds; and many emotional contexts. Her delivery is excellent throughout; and often captivating. She brings the story to life. If the audio version could have edited out the descriptive excesses of the story; this would be a solid five-star.