The Little Duke, by Charlotte Yonge
Publisher: Lepanto Press
Number of pages: 240
Crowned Duke of Normandy at eight years of
age after the treacherous murder of his noble father, Richard
the Fearless, in compliance with his father’s last injunction,
must come to grips with his desire to avenge this terrible
Political intrigue thickens the plot when
the wily French King conspires to take advantage of Normandy’s
juvenile ruler to seize the independent region for the crown.
In the year-long separation from his home
at the King’s castle in Laon, the young headstrong Duke gleans
many lessons from his dealings with Lothaire, the King’s
coddled and imperious eldest son.
As Richard’s faithful Danish guardian
Osmond senses mounting danger for his young protégé, he
carries out an ingenious escape.
The flight of the captive precipitates a
war between France and Normandy to which the fierce Danish
King lends his aid. The arrangements made at the close of the
war, place the King’s two sons as hostages at the little
Duke’s castle, allowing him to grow in Christian virtue in
regards to Lothaire and his frail, yet lovable brother
At the death of fragile Carloman, Richard
pleads Lothaire’s case before the King of Denmark; thus
fulfilling his father’s final admonition to forgive his
In like manner, Arnulf of Flanders, reduced
to penury through his misdeeds, receives mercy at the hand of
Richard the Fearless.
- The story depicts strong Christian virtues without
- There seems to be a balanced view of Medieval life given
(although somewhat harsh on page 111). "…thin,
wretched-looking creatures, with wasted limbs, aguish faces,
and often iron collars round their necks."
- It offers insight into this interesting point in history
when the Northmen were assimilating their new Christian
This book is well-written and provides
readers with a great story. It teaches students to acquire
virtues such as self-restraint and forgiveness. It is also
excellent reading in order to experience life in tenth century
Normandy (through the written word.)