Rose of Honor
|Rose of Honor|
Cover of the print edition
|Author(s)||Harold A. Covington|
|Publication year||February 7, 2001|
Rose of Honor is a novel by Harold A. Covington. A historical fiction of the Wars of the Roses set between the spring of 1457 and summer of 1461, the story follows the young knight Sir John Redmond as the sides are drawn and the conflict progresses. Redmond is portrayed as having a keen sense of responsibility, and strives to balance his own interests against the demands of his conscience, serving as an imperishable, if imperfect, Christian moral light in a barbarous time.
First published in early 2001, the copyright dates from 1980, and it was evidently written a decade earlier in the author's youth. According to an inscription on the inside cover of a copy signed on April 30, 2001, Covington wrote the novel when he was sixteen years old, between September 1969 and September 1970. If the note is accurate, Rose of Honor is possibly Covington's first foray into fiction, and is perhaps his only extant work predating his ideological maturity and membership in the National Socialist White People's Party in 1972, and may offer a peak into his worldview before it assumed its present form. Race is not directly discussed, although many of the characters betray Nordic features. Nobility and Christianity are much more significant themes in the novel. In a Chaucerian vein, Redmond laments the transparent hypocrisy around him, making light of the licentious clerics he has known. He sighs over the typical case of Sir Thomas Malory, that prime exponent of chivalry by way of his Le Morte d'Arthur, who had served time in prison for rape. He has no pretensions to his own virtue or piety, but is shows to have a demanding conscience, and appears resolutely decent in contrast to many of his fellow knights.
Perhaps writing with a critique of Second Wave feminism in mind, Covington's three primary female characters in Rose of Honor, Jeanetta, Melisande, and Margaret of Anjou are marked by cunning and pitted with jealousy. While they are not cast in a wholly negative light--there is recognition of the often hard lot they faced, from which they developed their wiles as means of survival--the author is evidently unapologetic about the less appealing propensities of a sex that was in the ascent as he wrote. Contrasted with the egregious but different failings of the male characters, the overall effect is a symbiotic view of the fallen sexes.
From the back cover
In the fifteenth century, England is shaken to the foundation by the bloody Wars of the Roses fought over the throne between the two rival Plantagenet houses of Lancaster and York. To the intrigue-riddled court of the Lancastrian queen has come a young knight named John Redmond, seeking the hand in marriage of the high-born girl he loves. He gets the chance to wed her, but only at the cost of betraying his family and his own honor and integrity. John Redmond makes a fateful choice, a decision that leads to murder and tragedy and the loss of the one great love of his life. But in the turbulent times of treachery and civil war in which he lives, Sir John is able to land on his feet. He changes sides and joins therebel Duke of York in his bid for the crown of England. He shares the adventures, the danger and hardship of the young prince who becomes King Edward the Fourth. Along the way he gains wealth, land, and marriage to another beautiful and passionate young noblewoman. The wars end and it seems that John Redmond is set for a life of peace and prosperity and contentment. But then his past returns to confront him. Sir John learns that the choice he made long ago must still be paid for, and the price will be higher than he ever before feared.
Rose of Honor is a novel set in England in the fifteenth century, during the Wars of the Roses which pitted brother against brother and father against son as the two royal Plantagenet houses of York and Lancaster battled for the throne of the kingdom. A young and penniless knight, Sir John Redmond, joins the Lancastrian court to follow the young woman he loves, but he finds that gaining his bride carries a price of betrayal and violence which is too high for him to pay. Betrayed himself by another beautiful and passionate girl, Sir John ends by marrying her instead, and fighting throughout the first War of the Roses on the side of the rival house of York, while his true love marries a knight on the Lancastrian side. In the end John Redmond is faced with more treachery and bloodshed as the two women in his life come into collision yet again, but through it all he seeks to know what is right and honorable and somehow, to maintain the standards and ideals of a chivalry which has long since perished.