In addition to my parents being here to visit (as one reason I haven't been blogging), I've also been reading this book by Edith Pargeter. It is EXCELLENT. It's a large undertaking and if I don't get some more time, I won't finish it before it's due back at the library (it's an interlibrary loan).
The book is part of a trilogy and considered by the author to be her favorite work. It follows the story of Harry, a Lord's son in 12th century England, near the tense Welsh border, who is falsely accused of a crime with his foster brother, Adam. Illustrating the barbaric nature of the middle ages, Harry's punishment is mild, but the villein's son, Adam, a boy of lower status, must lose his hand. Harry and Adam run away and seek employment as stone masons and wood carvers. They find work all over France, and their talents, particularly Harry's, astonish all. Harry's passion is to create his own cathedral and when he is commissioned to build one for a wealthy Lord, he jumps at the chance. He and Adam make their way back to their homeland.
And that's all I've read so far! :) I'm about halfway through, but I thought a quick review was in order. I'm fascinated by medieval times, and when I've traveled to Europe, the cathedrals have been my favorite part. I've seen the Notre Dame and Chartres and was simply amazed at the amount of detail carved into doors and columns, the exquisite strained glass windows. And all without any modern tools or machines.
Remember my utter disappointment and disgust with Ken Follet's PIllars of the Earth (which was basically a Danielle Steel novel wrapped up in the middle ages)? Well, I've found my antidote in Edith Pargeter. As one reviewer says on the back of the book, "If you do not appreciate this superb novel, I despair of you."