Jason Vails book

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Jason Vails book

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Aug 31, 2010 4:19 pm

I wrote a review of my friends new book, thought I would share it here I really liked it, I think anybody into Medieval history would dig this.

http://www.amazon.com/Wayward-Apprentic ... 1452876819

I've never read an historical novel in quite this exact genre. This is Medieval Noir, a window into a world Centuries ago amid the crime and intrigue in rural 13th Century England. This is not "ye olde Medieval Kingdom" you know from Sci Fi channel films or a typical romanticized Medieval novel, it's a LOONG way from your friendly neighborhood Renaissance festival. This is a real place with a very different feel than the world we live in today, or with the cliches we know and love, at once familiar and suprisingly alien in it's detail. A place with an unusual combination of harsh laws and swift justice are carried out in French to an English speaking courtroom, yet where crime and mayhem can lurk just around the corner. A place where nobody misses Sunday mass, but men go to the public bath house to dally with 'bath girls' over a couple of beers. Where theft can get you hung, but outlaws lurk in every forest. Where a warm meal can be had in a roadside tavern, and the beggar in the street is a bitter man, once a warrior.

The protagonist, Stephen Attebrook, is a widower and a veteran soldier and nearly a cripple himself, with half his foot missing from an encounter with a Moorish warrior in Spain. Shell shocked from the death of his wife, he approaches his new job without great enthusiasm or hope. He has come into the position of assistant Coroner, which had a different meaning in 13th Century England than it does today. His job is to certify the cause of death of everyone who dies in his district, to verify the legal status, which can have serious legal and political ramifications. This is not a Medieval CSI, autopsies are unheard of in this era, and disinterrments are rare, but Stephen reluctantly performs one when a case takes an unexpected twist. Somewhat against his will, he is drawn into the dark secrets of his new home town, and eventually entangled in a lethal Political struggle which overlaps the personal dramas, lovers spats and petty jealousies of his neighbors. Hired to investigate a murder whose youthful prime suspect has a tragic past in certain respects similar to his own, it's not long before Stephen has alarmed some dangerous people and finds himself having to fight for his life. But fighting is one thing Stephen, a hardened veteran, is capable of if not eager to indulge in, and the deadly brawls which break out along the lonely roads of this place have a sense of danger and verisimilitude that not only reveals the author (who also wrote a book on Medieval knife fighting techniques) as a trained martial artist, but also has the unpredictable feel and fierce immediacy of a real street fight. Despite being maimed, Stepheen proves able to hold his own, and being a Crown officer does not prevent him from doing what is necessary to cover up the bloody results of attempts to silence him.

Like Philip Marlowe or Sam Spade, Stephen doesn't have a rigid puritanical morality, but tries to do the right thing in a world he does not expect to be fair. As we get to know the man better, we learn that beneath his humble exterior Attebrook is a man of many skills. He will need them all to survive the hornets nest he has stirred up.

I really enjoyed this novel and I suspect (I hope) we will see more of Stephen Attebrook in the future. I can easily see this turning into a series. If you want to spend a little time in a medieval world as your ancestors may have actually experienced it, I highly recommend picking this one up.

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Re: Jason Vails book

Postby dangerdaz » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:05 pm

Currently reading this..Its great and i recommend it!
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Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:00 pm

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