A debut novel for Alis Hawkins, Testament bridges time, beginning in the late 14th century and ending in the present day.

In 1385, master mason Simon of Kineton is given free rein by wealthy London vintner, Richard Daker, to build a college of learning for the common man with English as the medium of teaching – a dangerous concept in a period when the Roman church had the monopoly on knowledge and required prospective scholars to be priests and to acquire their learning through Latin.

Some 600 years later, Damia Miller is appointed to promote the now penniless Kineton and Dacre College. It is the discovery of a grotesque series of medieval panelled wall paintings during renovations that may hold the key to financial survival. She becomes determined to solve the enigma of these paintings, particularly when records show that Simon Kineton and his wife, Gwyneth, who was a master carpenter in her own right, waited twenty years for a son who was born imperfect. Only the unlocking of the mystery will guarantee the future of the college.

The story, when set in a present day full of political correctness, is insufficiently cohesive and jars in transition to the past becoming, at times, repetitious, confusing and inconsistent. The balance of the book is further disturbed as, gathering speed towards the end, the medieval period is curtailed, leaving the reader with unanswered questions. The feeling therefore is of two books pasted together, and the result is overlong.



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