Friday, February 16, 2018

The Harrowing

Book Recommendation: The Harrowing: Five strangers. Five secrets. No refuge. No turning back by James Aitcheson 
Having read and loved Aitcheson’s “Sword Sworn” trilogy, when I discovered he had another novel out, I ordered it straight away (as they say.) Sword Sworn is from the point of view of a Norman Knight in the years after 1066. This novel is set in the same period, but from the point of view of five English folk fleeing the Norman harrowing of the north county, with mass destruction and death. Those who were forced to read a bit of “Canterbury Tales” in school will find this account to that pattern, though far more readable. Aitcheson is a terrific writer, creating vivid images and intricate plots. He is also a fine historian who researches his novels in depth. I knew a fair bit about the Conquest (I have a master’s in history) but little about the immediate years after except for the legend of Hereward the Wake. So, his novels are both educational and entertaining, though I would not recommend them for the squeamish (like my wife). Given that Aitcheson is only in his 30s, I expect he will be recognized as one of the top five historical novelists in ten years. Since I have survived, so far, a lung transplant and will be 72 in April, I hope he also writes fast!

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