Book Talk: A Conversation with Guy Gavriel Kay

Banner - US Cover Children of Earth and Sky

Set in a parallel Renaissance world, two major religions, the Jaddites who worship the sun, and the Asharites who worship the stars, struggle amidst the backdrop of court politics, murder, espionage, faith and family.

BOOK REVIEW: Children of Earth and Sky – Guy Gavriel Kay

Book: Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

BOOK REVIEW: Children of Earth and Sky – Guy Gavriel Kay

The Fantastical Shoemaker and the Head of Death

Detail from list of shoemakers by Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna

By Danièle Cybulskie This week, I came across one of those great medieval stories that is just too good not to share: “The Fantastical Shoemaker of Constantinople”. This twisted tale comes from Walter Map’s twelfth-century miscellany De Nugis Curialium or Courtiers’ Trifles, and all quotes you’ll find below come from Richard Sowerby‘s reader-friendly translation in the great collection […]

BOOK REVIEW: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Book: The Northern Queen by Kelly Evans

Kelly Evans’Anglo-Saxon novel centres around the story of Aelfgifu of Northampton (990-1040); from her rise in court and eventual marriage to one of England’s most famous early kings, Cnut the Great (995-1035), to her repudiation, and later life with her sons after Cnut’s passing.

Umberto Eco and the Meaning of the Middle Ages

Umberto Eco - photo by Aubrey / Wikimedia Commons

The narrative frame around Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, which intricately removes the story itself from its ultimate reader by insinuating long journeys, lost manuscripts, and various narrative intermediaries between text and recipient, also establishes a chain of connection between the late medieval murder mystery itself and its modern retelling, thus bringing the Middle Ages into present-day reality and vice-versa

Almost a Millennium, by Jeanbill

Almost a Millennium

Almost a Millennium, by Jeanbill, is an eclectic novel about the unlikely connection between an English monk and an American physician that lived nearly 1,000 years apart, one of today and one in the medieval period.

BOOK REVIEW: Grendel’s Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife by Susan Signe Morrison

Books: Grendel's Mother by Susan Signe Morrison.

Grendel’s Mother tells the story of Brimhild, a child found abandoned in a boat on the shores of Denmark. Taken in by a fisherwoman woman and her husband, she is received as a blessing for the child they recently lost. There is nothing to identify her save for a few strange, and foreign items packed […]

BOOK REVIEW: The Butcher Bird by SD Sykes

Books: The Butcher Bird by SD Sykes

My review of SD Sykes follow up to “Plague Land”, her latest book, “The Butcher Bird”.

BOOK REVIEW: The Lady Agnes Mystery – Volume I

Books: The Lady Agnes Mystery - Volume I by Andrea Japp

A review of the Lady Agnes Mystery by Parisienne author, Andrea Japp.

Books – Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms by Emily Murdoch

Conquests by Emily Murdoch

A look at author Emily Murdoch’s book, Conquests, from her series, ‘Conquered Hearts’

Knights, Rulers, Pilgrims and Writers: Female Characters in Medieval Children’s Books

British Library, Harley MS 4431, f. 290r

Female characters in modern children’s literature have been shown to be represented in a stereotypical manner, but gender in historical fiction for children has received little scholarly attention.

The Book of Dame Frevisse: Margaret Frazer’s Medieval Mysteries

margaret frazer novice tale

Margaret Frazer has written and published fifteen medieval mystery books thus far. These books are considered detective fiction.

Book Review: Rise of the Wolf, by Steven A. McKay

rise of the wolf

Bottom line: I can’t recommend this novel strongly enough. You should buy it now.

Literature in an Apocalyptic Age; or, How to End a Romance

Yvain fighting Gawain. Medieval illumination from Chrétien de Troyes's romance, Yvain, le Chevalier au Lion

No literature of the Middle Ages has so successfully captured the imagination of recent times as has the medieval romance.

The Archer’s Loss: England’s War, Fate’s Arrows

New Front Cover

As England crumbles, so does Thomas as he rails against the world which has snatched life and love away from him so savagely. The end of the 116 year struggle between old foes shall be the making and breaking of a boy yet to develop into a man….

The Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson

My book review of Robin Hood tale, Arrow of Sherwood by Lauren Johnson.

BOOK REVIEW: The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

The Tapestry by Nancy Bilyeau

Joanna Stafford, our intrepid ex-Dominican super sleuth is at it again. This time, she’s hurled straight into the midst of plotting and deception at Henry VIII’s court.

‘We Do Not Sow’: The Economics and Politics of A Song of Ice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire books - photo by Robert / Flickr

George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire brilliantly illustrates a number of basic principles of political economy.

What’s New in Medieval Historical Fiction

New Medieval Historical Fiction

Learn more about these books: See the Sister Fidelma mysteries Wikipedia entry Visit Gear-Gear.com, website for the authors Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear The Buried Giant review – Kazuo Ishiguro ventures into Tolkien territory – review by Tom Holland in The Guardian ‘The Invention of Fire’ is a thrillingly written 14th-century murder mystery […]

Reinventing the Hero: Gardner’s Grendel and the Shifting Face of Beowulf in Popular Culture

John Gardner Grendel

In twentieth- and twenty-first century Anglophone culture, the impact of Beowulfiana — what we call that amorphous mass of materials that have accumulated around the poem — has been widespread yet subtle.

Caliburn: Merlin’s Tale

Caliburn Merlin Tale

The best way to describe Virgil Renzulli’s Caliburn: Merlin’s Tale is as a King Arthur origin story, set in an alternate universe.

Review: The Holy Lance, by Andrew Latham

Latham Holy Lance

Inside, what I came across was a solid tale based during the Third Crusade, in the aftermath of the dreadful battle at the Horns of Hattin.

The Beginning of Medieval Historical Fiction: Ten Novels from the 19th century

Ivanhoe medieval historical fiction

Historical fiction was just beginning as literary genre in the 19th century, but soon authors found success in writing about stories set in the Middle Ages.

Historical Lives in Fiction, Characters in Fiction: Are they the same people?

Abelard and Heloise by Edmund Blair Leighton

There is a strong relationship between history and fiction. The characters created by writers, either in historical novels and literary fiction, reflect that relationship. Many of the characteristics of fictional characters can also be ascribed to characters depicted in historical fiction and biographical writing.

‘Pilgrimage’, pilgrimage, and writing historical fiction

Lucy Pick Pilgrimage

Dr. Pick discusses how she wrote and published a historical novel and the connection between academic writing and writing for a broader audience.

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