HARVEST by Jim Crace

Jim Crace’s Harvest reads like a simple moral fable of a tiny and remote medieval English village, destroyed externally and internally by the conversion of farms into sheep pastures, but wait! There is far more to it than meets the eye.

Mr. Crace is particularly interested in pairings: everything comes in twos, right from the opening pages.. Two signals of smoke rise up: one signaling the arrival of new neighbors who are announcing their right to stay; the second, a blaze that indicates the master Kent’s dovecote is gone and his doves taken.

Both subplots radiate from these two twinned smoke signals. The stories, narrated by Walter – the manservant of Kent who was paired with him from the start by sharing the same milk – is both an insider and an outsider (yet another pairing). He is not of the village although he has become part of it.

January 15, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Allegory/Fable, Literary, Man Booker Nominee, World Lit

ELIZABETH OF YORK by Alison Weir

ELIZABETH OF YORK: A TUDOR QUEEN AND HER WORLD is not historical fiction, rather a work of history researched and well written by Alison Weir. Here she documents the life of an English Queen Elizabeth – not as well known as Elizabeth I, “The Fairy Queen,” nor Elizabeth II, England’s modern day monarch. Our protagonist is Elizabeth of York, whose obscurity belies the high profile of her connections.

January 13, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Non-fiction

MASTER SIGER’S DREAM by A. W. Deannuntis

Reading A.W. Deannuntis’ debut novel, MASTER SIGER’S DREAM, put me in mind of the John Kennedy Toole masterpiece A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES. The epigraph for that book – When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him – could easily do service here. In the role of the genius is 13th century philosopher Siger of Brabant, with the dunces being played by the Bishop of Paris, Etienne Tempier, the Papal Legate, Simon De Brion, and various anonymous sadists of the Roman Catholic Inquisition.

November 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Alternate History, Character Driven, Debut Novel, Humorous, Unique Narrative

THE OWL KILLERS by Karen Maitland

Karen Maitland transports readers to a world of superstition in her medieval mystery THE OWL KILLERS. In 1321, the village of Ulewic in England is ruled by the Owl Masters, pagan leaders who use violence and blackmail to keep the villagers under their control.

The village of Ulewic hangs in the balance between Christianity and paganism. The Owl Masters, masked men who are based on an actual cult, conduct rituals, including human sacrifice, to appease their gods.

October 23, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Mystery/Suspense

CABAL OF THE WESTFORD KNIGHT by David S. Brody

Did Templar Knights come to America a hundred years before Columbus? Was their Scot leader, Prince Henry Sinclair, entrusted with a sacred treasure he determined to keep safe in the New World? Did his second-in-command, Sir James, die during their exploration of the territories now within the northwest corridor of the U.S. and lower Canada? Was that dead knight’s grave much more than merely a memorial to him? What happened to Prince Henry?

April 18, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, NE & New York, Thriller/Spy/Caper