by Edward Marston, St. Martin’s Press 1993 – hardcover, Volume 1 of The Domesday Books
This is the 34th in my series of Friday Forgotten Books
This the first of Marston’s Domesday Book series. The central fact or story of each of the books in this series is based on an actual event recorded in the Domesday Book, an historical record of the inventory which William the Conqueror commanded after his conquest of England in 1066. Because the primary wealth of the time was land ownership, land is the central issue in the books in this series. The main characters in the series, with their strengths and weaknesses, are Ralph Delchard, a Norman lord, and Gervase Bret, an intelligent and youthful Chancery clerk of Saxon origins.
It’s 1086. In Wolves of Savernake the picturesque village of Bedwyn borders Savernake Forest, which has been set aside as a hunting preserve for His Majesty with privileges allowed to a local lord. As the Domesday Tribunal arrives in the town of Bedwyn there is concern on several accounts. In the forest, a successful merchant has apparently fallen prey to a vicious attack by a wolf. But was it really a wolf, or something even more sinister? In their investigations, Ralph and Gervase uncover an all-too-human motive for murder. There are with plenty of self-righteous Normans and a host of resentful Saxons to be found here, in addition to a disquieting property dispute.
In the course of the story the reader is presented with an impossible counterfeiting in the town, a doubting novice at the abbey and a herb collecting crone who wanders the countryside. All have their parts to play in this satisfying story steeped in local lore and insights into life in eleventh-century England.
I liked this one, and this series as far as I’ve read so far, a lot. If you find one of the other books instead of this one, no problem, as it turned out these books stand alone just fine.
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Friday Forgotten Books series organizer Patti Abbott is on a brief hiatus.
George Kelley is filling in as host on his blog
where you will find a complete list of today’s participating blogs, and tomorrow, the summing up.