Threads of Treason
I had great hopes of this novel as the premise was intriguing. In 1081, two of the nuns creating the iconic Bayeux Tapestry fall to their deaths at the Priory of Saint Thomas the Apostle. The maternal Abbess Eleanor and the young Sister Therese are sent to investigate the mysterious deaths. The action takes place as tensions rise between the Norman princes and bishops, and the conquerors and native English grouped against them.
Unfortunately, I was to be disappointed. Bale’s characters are underdeveloped, and so it was difficult to sustain interest in the plot. Promising action scenes are told to the reader, rather than engaging the emotions and senses. Even when Therese is at real risk of burning to death, I failed to get a sense of her terror.
Bale has put time and effort into her research, but for me there was a lack of credibility in her portrayal of medieval Christianity. She isn’t the only historical fiction author who fails to achieve this. But with nuns as the two lead characters, it is problematic for this novel.