Fifteen-year-old Edward leaves his family to stay at the labyrinthine palace of Lord Norbert where he is to be tutored in the ways of Saxon nobility, before being baptised into the Christian faith. But the young man has much to learn and soon realises his new environment is positively seething with political intrigue, religious fervour and, in the case of fair-headed Winifred, sexual desire.
Not quite long enough to qualify as a novella, this 15,000 word story of ancient times is nevertheless an intriguing read. Whether through research or simply the use of a fertile imagination, the author has created an exciting, and at times, frightening world. His characters are well-drawn and believable, and the interplay between them is positively riveting. I loved his descriptions – particularly Lord Norbert, whose rattling cough and large wet mouth had me cringing.
Daniel Bristow-Bailey is a talented and imaginative writer and I’m eager to see what he comes up with next. One to watch.