I've been a bit lax lately with doing book reviews. It's not that I haven't been reading, quite the opposite in fact. It's more that what I've been reading would have very limited appeal to the folks who read this blog.
Enough! Back to this tome. This is a book which is hard to categorise. Set during the plague of 1349, which decimated the English population, it's part historical novel, part fantasy. It resembles, in its concept, The Canterbury Tales, in as much as it concerns a group of people thrown together by circumstance, and each with a tale to tell.
Whereas the travellers in Marlowe's book join forces with the intention of a pilgrimage to Canterbury, and they pass their time be story-telling, these nine travellers are all trying to escape the plague which is quickly working its' way up from the South of England.
As they journey on, the reasons for their travelling begin to be revealed, by the help of a fey girl who reads runes. The stories that emerge often prove that back then, people were no different to people now in a lot of respects.
The stories are sometimes gruesome, often sad. Death and sorrow stalk their journey. Told from the point of view of Camelot, a seller of holy relics, the book ends with a totally unforseen twist - unforseen, but hinted at during one encounter.
It's well written and fast paced, and to be honest, I found it difficult to put down, reading it cover to cover in just 3 days, even though it is a tome of over 500 pages.
Well worth seeking out
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