26 August 2011

A real page turner

My series of blog posts on literary villains has been put on hold since real life doesn't seem to want to slow down for me and it's difficult to write about specific villains when you don't have the literature in front of you. My books are all packed up right now, ready for me to get moved into my on campus apartment tomorrow. Today, I thought I would write about a different book that doesn't fall in with my preferred genre of fantasy. Of course, after the first few chapters, I hardly noticed. The night I finished book one of G.M. Dyrek's The Seer and the Scribe series, I stayed up late to do it. I couldn't stop turning the pages and had to know what happened next. Nothing turned out the way I expected, but I was smiling by the end.

Spear of Destiny is the first book in a series that "begins where recorded history is silent" introducing characters such as Hildegard of Bingen and Volmar, a monk and scribe at the monastery at Disibodenberg. The story is set in 12th century Germany, which is a period I know I've never studied. Despite that, I had no trouble at all keeping track of what was happening in the book. Everything starts fairly suddenly, with news of Hildegard's talents as a seer that allowed her to see a murder that had taken place generations ago at the monastery. Volmar listens to her story and helps her find proof that it was true, but before they can find a way to bring the old murderer to justice, Volmar is told of a holy relic with a powerful curse. When another body turns up at the monastery, it is up to Volmar's scientific mind to find out what really happened.

The book isn't very slow to start; it seems to be just the right amount between the opening scenes and the first subplot. Foot notes are provided at the bottom to explain details of monastic life that modern readers may not understand otherwise. I don't normally read historical fiction or murder mysteries, but I already want to get a copy of the next book in the series, Methuselah's Secret. Another cool detail: the author's son and niece are the models for Volmar and Hildegard, respectively. They appear on the cover and in the pencil illustrations inside. The illustrations added another cool angle when they appeared; the black and white style seemed very complementary of the setting and time period of the story. Thank you so much to my mom over at Crazed Mind for letting me review the book. I loved it!

No money was made off of this review. It's just my opinion. :)
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