Book Review – The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and Leon, Saint Ferdinand III

The Life of the Very Noble King of Castile and Leon, Saint Ferdinand III is a very interesting book. To start, I mistakenly thought it was a chronicle of this legendary Spanish king. Instead to my surprise, this book was written as a novel. This novel is a biography of histories’ most successful crusader king. It can be divided into different stages of St. Fernandos life. Starting from his childhood and upcoming, his relationship with his estrange father, and the importance of his mother. The famous, and somewhat cliché quote “behind every great man is a great woman”, is certainly truth with Fernando III and his mother Berenguela of Castile. Then, like just very great king, you’ll read about the different rebellions and difficult Fernando had once he came to power. Lastly, the bulk of the book deals with the military campaigns in Andalusia.

A very interesting thing about this book is its title. In Spanish, the literal translation of this book’s title is Our Lady in the Saddletree. Upon reading this book, you’ll learn why that’s the title described here is the subtitle. This translation is a fairly easy read, although I haven’t read the original source, from what I’ve learned, it uses a more poetic archaic Spanish. This really picks my interest since I love such type of works.

The only drawback of book is that the annotations are fairly limited. Which is understandable as this book written by the nun María del Carmen Fernández de Castro Cabeza, to give homage to St. Fernando, and not by a historian as a scholarly work.

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