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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

Update: 36% and setting it aside

The Heretics of De'Ath (Chronicles of Brother Hermitage) - Howard of Warwick

I need to stop being such a sucker for anything with illumination on the cover. (Note to self: this seems effective. Consider illumination as theme for next set of book covers.)


This is more of a parody of a medieval mystery with not a singe devout soul to be found in the entire monastery. I'll admit that at first I found some of the irreverent, and often anachronistic, humor entertaining, but I'm struggling with getting through an entire book of it.


For example, I liked these passages:


Old St Peter and Paul in Bailgate had been visited as a ruin for so long that many suspected it had been built as a ruin in the first place, simply to attract visitors. The new church, however - new because it had only been there for a couple of hundred years - had been doing its best to fall down ever since it had been put up.




At one point the thoroughfare of Ermine Street disappeared completely. All of the stone had been removed and there was nothing left but a large pit, full of disturbingly green, deep-looking water. A fairly substantial dwelling stood off to the right just here, down a track of its own. The track was very well maintained and, upon close examination, the dwelling looked rather like a Roman road, only stacked up with windows in it.


Unfortunately, the portrayal of all monks as thoroughly evil or too stupid to achieve even that status is wearying. The murder investigation, such as it is, does not hold much promise, and unless Brother Hermitage pulls a Columbo style twist, he's not solving anything....at least not on purpose.


I'll finish this when I need a light read, but for now I cannot bear one more 'Cheerio' said in 1066.