The Crowfield Demon
Set in an abbey in 1348, with a glossary explaining such terms as ‘triforium’ and ‘shawm’, there’s plenty of history here, but also magic. There are ‘fays’, ‘mound elves’ and a ‘Dark King’ – and though these could have been written in an historical context of folklore and superstition, or as magic realism, they are presented here more as straightforward fantasy.
I don’t have a problem with that per se, but I think it undermines the threat and the history in this book. The plotline repeatedly makes clear that the 14th century has no answer to the supernatural powers – which is certainly not what they would have felt then. The abbey is revealed as a Christian building on an ancient pagan site, and demonic powers are beginning to awake; so again, though much of the historical detail is well done, it is built upon a revisionist 21st-century viewpoint.
So: doesn’t quite work for me, though I like all the themes. It will probably read very well as a simple adventure story for a younger reader.