Nowhere Was There Peace
Nowhere Was There Peace is a fine, bloody, man-made medieval novel, which, as a tale of men at war, rivals anything recent of Cornwell’s. I liked the main character, Franklin – a hard-working stonemason – and wanted more about him, a working man, swept into survival mode when his world collapses around him. The battle scenes are stark and true, and arming details added to the realism. The structure, changing points of view chapter by chapter, is now popular, but it annoys me, George R. R. Martin to the contrary. I’d rather the story had stayed with Franklin, who is a clear and sympathetic center.
There are occasional lapses of accurate detail, but writers in this genre often find themselves between a rock and hard place when they are creating fiction. There is a subplot concerning Miriam, a Jewish victim of savage “Christian” opportunism, but this, although germane, felt like a misstep, as her story felt contrived. I’m no expert on shifting allegiances of this period, but as long as the story stays among the men – the soldiers, the royal spies and conniving, brutal war lords – Pilling is excellent. I would definitely read a follow-up novel about Franklin, and I was amused by the author’s gangsta’ backstory on the origins of “Robin Hode,” another likely candidate for a sequel.