5 Reviews for…Fiction Set During the Medieval Period

I haven’t posted one of these for a few years (gasp!), so it’s high time for another.  About thirty-five to forty percent of the historical fiction I read is set during the Medieval period (1066-1485).  All right, I’ve not done the maths, but it is an educated guess…

It is one of my favourite periods of history purely because so much of the architecture has survived to the present day.  Nearly every English village has a church that dates back this far, and most towns have more than one.  Then there are the castles and big houses, smaller houses and pubs…I just find it fascinating, so its no wonder I like to read stories set in this period.

Below you will find links to a number of books set during the Medieval period that I not only enjoyed, but also recommend:

  • Company of Liars by Karen Maitland – Set in 1348, a diverse group of people are brought together under extremely stressful and deadly circumstances: the plague has arrived in England. Absorbing, compelling reading, this is probably my favourite book by the author.
  • Inquisition by Alfredo Collito – Set in 1311.  A suspenseful read, full of action and drama, Inquisition is a compelling read centred on the early days of modern science, The Templars and of course, the Inquisition.
  • We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman – This is actually a two books series: The Flowering of The Rose and The White Rose Turned to Blood – It tells the story of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who will become Richard III, told from the viewpoint of his mistress and his fool in the first book, and his sworn man and the mistress in the second book.  Set in the later decades of the fifteenth century, both books are fantastic pieces of historical fiction, and also, I found, quite emotional.
  • The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb – Set in 1363, The Apothecary Rose is the first Owen Archer mystery.  Owen Archer, on losing an eye while fighting in France, needs a new occupation and quickly finds himself employed as a spy for the Lord Chancellor.  His first missions has him sent to York to investigate a series of mysterious deaths…
  • A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters – This list wouldn’t be complete without a Cadfael mystery, would it?  Not only have I chosen to list A Morbid Taste for Bones (set in 1137) here because it is The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, but also because it is my favourite.  Why?  Because it clearly shows how important relics were to religious houses during the period, and the lengths these religious houses would go to obtain them…

Have you read any of these books?  What did you think to them?  I would love to hear your thoughts…

17 thoughts on “5 Reviews for…Fiction Set During the Medieval Period

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – June 2019 | Sammi Loves Books

  2. Despite my love of books from this same period, I’ve only read the Ellis Peters. I’m surprised you’ve included none by Susanna Gregory, nor Bernard Cornwall. Because of the TV serialisation of his Anglo-Saxon/Great Army books, we tend to forget his other books, set (one might say scattered) throughout this entire period.
    A good review all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a couple of Susanna Gregory’s books on my bookshelf but have yet to read any of them. And it’s the same for Bernard Cornwall’s books set in the Medieval – I’ve not yet got around to reading them, though I have read a number of his others -Stonehenge and the Warlord Chronicles being particular favourites. Perhaps I shall have to post another one of these recommendations posts when I have… 🙂

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      • I’ve read the Warlord Chronicles. Good gritty stuff. And Stonehenge, though I wasn’t impressed by that. I’ve also read some contemporary-set stuff. And though I’ve read only a few of the Sharpe books, I’ve watched most of the movies. Well, Sean Bean, you have to, don’t you.

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      • Stonehenge, if I remember my thoughts on it correctly, was good (in my opinion) with regards to the “technical” stuff but I can’t recall much about the storyline itself or the characters.

        Yes, gritty sums up the Warlord Chronicles. In fact, I’m thinking it’s time I re-read them again.

        I’ve only read a handful of the Sharpe books too but seen most of the adaptations – very watchable

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      • I think the problem I had with Stonehenge was the culture didn’t seem right. At the time of reading I was totally immersed in research regards the culture … nah, I can’t fault him on Anglo-Saxon culture, but the way he portrayed the people in that book just didn’t seem right

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      • In truth, I can’t say that I remember much of it now. But I do remember my reactions to it. And as I remember (badly) the plot was somethiing to do with rival tribes, Avebury v. Stonehenge.

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  3. I’m so glad you brought up “Company of Liars.” I was sure that I had it because I recognized the cover, but it wasn’t in my Libib database, and it wasn’t even on my wish list… Turns out I shelved it without successfully entering it into Libib! But now I have a new “problem” which is that I don’t remember the story itself: so it has been reshelved in my straining to-read bookcase. I asked for “Morbid Bones” for Christmas but my mom got me one of the other Cadfael books. Hoping to get to the rest later. Haven’t heard of the others you mention – interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember you mentioning the Cadfael book for Christmas in one of our other discussions…The Leper of St Giles, I think? Which, funnily enough, is the book I’m supposed to be reading next in the series 🙂

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      • Yes, the one she got me was The Leper of St Giles. See my review on Goodreads. I really liked it, although without the context of the other books in the series I can’t say how much I like it relative to the others.

        In the meantime, I went ahead and read Company of Liars — and really enjoyed it, wow! I’m working up my review for that; I have lots of notes but have to distill them into something Goodreads-sized. The odd thing was that 99% of it seemed completely new to me, and then there was one scene in the middle that seemed familiar. So either I read it a very long time ago and only this passage stuck in my head, or I’d somehow read just that scene in a preview (although it is highly unlikely Amazon would have done that with this particular scene, which was the one with Rodrigo and Jofre in the barn…).

        Some folks on GR compared it (unfavorably, mostly) to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, which also happened to be in my TBR shelves, so now I’m reading that. And sadly not getting into it, at least not yet. But then, I’m only 50 pages in and not through the introduction yet. Maybe it picks up more later.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll definitely check out your review for The Leper of St Giles once I’ve read it – though first I need to locate my copy…I know it’s around here somewhere… 🙂

        Oh, that is rather strange. But at least you read – or reread – and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to checking out your review for this one too 🙂

        I dipped in out and of Chaucer’s Tales a long time ago, but can’t remember that much about it to be honest. But now you’ve mentioned this comparison, I might have to revisit it and read it properly 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m about halfway through Canterbury Tales but I haven’t finished my review for the last book (Company of Liars) — which is a no-no for me! So hopefully I’ll do that review tomorrow, and some time next week review Canterbury Tales.

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