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Archive for the ‘Medieval mayhem’ Category

The bloody tower (My story) – Valerie Wilding

The Bloody Tower is the diary of Tilly Middleton, from 1553-1559 who is the daughter of the physician in the Tower of London.

Tilly’s diary begins just before the death of King Edward VI,

who was the son of Henry VIII. It continues through the brief and tragic reign of young Jane Grey,

then the strong and scary reign of Mary Tudor, right up to when Elizabeth I came to the throne.

Tilly keeps her ears and eyes open and she and her friend Tom,

who works in the royal menagerie, soon find out what’s going on.

She needs to know what’s happening, because she has a secret which she must share with someone – someone very important indeed.


Bitterblue – Kristin Cashore

Eight years have passed since the young Princess Bitterblue, and her country, were saved from the vicious King Leck. Now Bitterblue is the queen of Monsea, and her land is at peace.

But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers, who have run the country on her behalf since Leck’s death, believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during Leck’s reign; and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has become shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle – curious, disguised and alone – to walk the streets of her own city, that she begins to realise the truth. Her kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year long spell of a madman, and now their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past.

Whatever that past holds.

Two thieves, who have sworn only to steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, who possesses an unidentified Grace, may also hold a key to her heart . . .

Good Reads

Reign (TV series)

Kiss of death – Malcolm Rose

On a school trip to the plague village of Eyam, Seth is moved by the story of how villagers sacrificed their lives to the dreaded Black Death.

Kim and Wes are more interested in what they see at the bottom of the wishing well – money!

But when they snatch the coins they also pick up something they hadn’t bargained for, and as the hideous consequences of their theft catch up with them all, Seth is forced to face a terrifying truth.

Has Eyam’s plague-ridden past resurfaced to seek revenge?

Good Reads

Pagan’s crusade – Catherine Jinks

Wham! So here I am, standing in a sea of dirt, with a big mad Templar lobbing rocks at my head.

Wham! Like some kind of martyr.

Wham! He throws like a catapult

“All right, Pagan, that’s enough.” (I should damn well think so.) “Do you see what your problem is?”

Wait – don’t tell me. You are.

Twelfth century Jerusalem – the time of the Crusades. 16 year old Pagan is assigned to work for Lord Roland, a Templar knight. Set against a background of mounting tension as the Infidels, led by Saladin, close in on the Holy City, Pagan’s Crusade sympathetically traces the relationship between the knight and his squire as Roland emerges as both mentor and friend for the orphaned Pagan.

World without end – Ken Follett

World Without End takes place in the same town of Kingsbridge,

two centuries after the townspeople finished building the exquisite Gothic cathedral that was at the heart of The Pillars of the Earth.

The cathedral and the priory are again at the centre of a web of love and hate, greed and pride, ambition and revenge, but this sequel stands on its own.

This time the men and women of an extraordinary cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas-about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice.

In a world where proponents of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds,

the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race-the Black Death.

The pillars of the earth – Ken Follett

The Year is 1123: in an unnamed English town, there is a hanging. The small boys come early and cavort around the scaffold. Soon they are joined by the peasants coming to market, or just to watch, and the townspeople likewise. The people like a good hanging. But the mood is odd: this is not a good hanging. The thief is a stranger, and the crime a poor one: the theft of a jewelled chalice from a monastery “something whose value was so great it that it would be virtually impossible to sell – which was not like stealing a ham or a new knife or a good belt, the loss of which would hurt someone”. It was difficult to hate such a man.
The witnesses who’d sealed his fate were also strangers: a knight, a monk and a priest.
When the time comes when most prisoners would call upon God or scream for their mothers, the prisoner sings a sweet melody about larks and hunters and the power of song.
When the deed is done a young girl falls to her knees and calls out a curse.
Twelve years later: Tom is building a house. He has dreams of building a cathedral. He’d worked on one once. But for now he has a family, and house-building for the gentry is good money. The house is for “Young William” son to Lord Percy Hamleigh and soon to be married to the Lady Aliena, daughter of the Earl of Shiring.
Or not.
The Lady Aliena it turns out has a mind of her own and is absolutely NOT minded to marry the Young William.
No marriage…no need for the house. All work is suspended and Tom, the builder, begins the slow descent into destitution.

Pagan’s vows – Catherine Jinks

Pagan cannot believe that he is actually agreeing to devote his life to God, to accept life in a monastery. This is a lifestyle that he despises, possibly fears, and also one that he fled from when he was a boy.

But Pagan discovers that beneath the veneer of respectability, piety and humility lies a complex tangle made up of lies, deceit and greed. Pagan may not be the most honest person in the world, but this kind of dirty hypocrisy upsets him enough that he will not stop seeking out the truth even when his very life is threatened. It would seem that someone very high up in the monastic hierarchy guides the conspiracy, and Pagan needs to be wary of what he says and does.

Song of the lioness quartet – Tamora Pierce

Alanna of Trebond (disguised as the boy Alan) swaps places with her twin brother Thom to train as a knight in the royal palace. Alanna meets new friends along her journey, including George, the charming and mischievous King of Thieves; the lovable but unkempt scholar Sir Myles of Olau; Gareth “Gary” of Naxen; Raoul of Goldenlake; Princess Thayet of Sarain; Liam the Shang Dragon; and Prince Jonathan of Conte, Alanna’s best friend. She also meets several foes, including Ralon of Malven and Duke Roger of Conte, Jonathan’s charming but sly cousin. Alanna also acquires a new pet—her mysterious black cat Faithful, who, true to his name, keeps her from harm.

Slaughterboy – Odo Hirsch

Go back 500 years.

You’re alone.

What does it take to survive?

If you so survive, what kind of a person have you become?

On the streets of a medieval town, an abandoned child scavenges to stay alive. A slaughterman takes him in, teaches him the secrets of his bloody trade. But when the slaughterman is gone, the boy is adrift in a world of cheats, murderers and thieves.

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