4 Sep 2012

THE OWL KILLERS.

THE OWL KILLERS by KAREN MAITLAND.

England 1321 - Welcome to the Dark Ages.

Deep in the heart of the countryside lies an isolated village governed by a sinister regime of Owl Masters. Theirs is a pagan world of terror and blackmail, where neighbour denounces neighbour and sin is punishable by murder.


The dark status quo is disturbed by the arrival of a house of religious women, who establish a community outside the village. Why do their crops succeed when the village crops fail, their cattle survive despite the plague? But petty jealousy turns deadly when the women give refuge to a young martyr. For she dies a gruesome death after spitting the sacramental host into flames that can't burn it - what magic is this? Or is the martyr now a Saint and the host a holy relic?


Accusations of witchcraft and heresy run rife while the Owl Killers rain down hellfire and torment on the women, who must look to their faith to save them from the lengthening shadow of Evil ....

..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Anno Domini 1321 - Prologue): Giles knew they'd come for him, sooner or later.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 136): 'The ivy leaf proclaims the Holy Trinity of God. How can that plant work against us who are his servants?'
'The old 'uns say ivy's an evil omen,' she muttered sullenly. 'It kills whatever it embraces.'

MY THOUGHTS: Without a doubt this is up there as one of my favourite reads of 2012 - in fact if you were to push me I'd have to say it was one of my top five reads so far. After all combining historical fiction (I got to know all about the Beguinage Communities* of the 13th/14th century), Pagan and Christian beliefs and, witchcraft how could it fail but to impress?

Well, when I say 'witchcraft' I don't mean the modern kind of witchcraft that has become so popular of late so much as the old type of witchcraft which saw 'wise' women persecuted thanks to fear and superstition.

Anyway,

Told through the eyes (and mouths) of several different characters (the Beguine women, the Lord of the Manor's daughter, the local priest, and a village child, Pisspuddle), at first I was a little apprehensive that the multiple first person narratives that gave a voice to each individual as opposed to any one individual might be confusing to follow. No need to worry though as all flowed wonderfully well and indeed writing the story in this way only enhanced my overall enjoyment.

A novel of the intermingling and indeed clashing of Christian and Pagan ways, The Owl Killers is quite a dark story of faith, heresy, suspicion, superstition, persecution and, ultimately, tragedy. An epic read of some 551 pages (plus interesting and informative historical notes and glossary) I highly recommend this as a wonderful novel to those who enjoy historical fiction as well as those who enjoy tales of the supernatural.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Ex-library stock (the best 25p I've spent for a long time) I'll be certain to keep this.



PS * Read more about the Beguinage Communities HERE, it really is fascinating stuff.

15 comments:

Alexia561 said...

Great review! I don't usually read historical fiction and multiple POV usually turn me off, but this one sounds fascinating! Will check to see if my library has a copy.

Kelly said...

Although the supernatural is not my favorite topic, this still sounds like something I would really enjoy. You know me and historical fiction!

And 551 pages doesn't sound so bad considering I just finished one that was 1168 pages! (Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand) I think this will have to go on my wish list.

Thanks for the great review, Tracy.

Jeannie said...

Sounds like an interesting one!

Suko said...

This does sound remarkable! Excellent review, Petty!!

Mama Zen said...

This sounds really cool!

joan said...

Yet another great review, going over to kindle to see how much , thanks

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiners Book Blog) said...

Great to hear that you really enjoyed this one.
I haven't heard of it before now.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Well, I'm glad it was well researched. I like that in a good book. Might be a good historical fiction, but I have to admit the title would have put me off. :)

The Golden Eagle said...

This sounds like a really good book, based on your review! Thanks for posting about The Owl Killers. :)

naida said...

wow Tracy, one of your top reads? The Owl Killers sounds great. I like the premise.

Blond Duck said...

I'm going to hunt this down on Amazon.

Natasha said...

This sounds really interesting, I'll have to try and find it at my local library. xxx

GMR said...

Awesome job Tracy! You've got my interest even though I'm not usually a historical fiction fan. Might have to check this one out....thanks for the heads up!

Nikki-ann said...

I'm glad you've enjoyed this one. Funnily enough, a friend is currently reading it. I think I have another of the author's books in my TBR pile.

DMS said...

You sold me! You obviously really loved this book and it shows. I look forward to reading it, too!
~Jess