Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review of The Owl Killers

England, 1321. Deep in the heart of 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. This 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 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 Masters rain down hellfire and torment on the women, who must look to their faith to save them from the lengthening shadow of Evil ... a shadow with predatory, terrifying talons. (

This was quite a good novel. I haven't read many novels set in the dark ages, I have a few on my to-read list but somehow other books tend to get in the way of those. That's why I love the challenges I make for myself because it sometimes urges me on the read a novel I otherwise wouldn't have bothered with. 

This novel, a gentle mix of religion, supernatural phenomenons and prosecution set in medieval times is a little gem. I've enjoyed reading this. The tale beautifully hops from one point of view to another. From a corrupted priest, to the leader of the community of women to a child from the village and a woman caring for a mute child whose been cast away. 
Set in times when crops when bad and people thought the church couldn't help them, they turn to dark magic and deliver it their souls. When they are being challenged by the religious women they turn upon them and make them the source of all their misery. 
Even within the walls of the community there are roots of doubt and evil, which eventually will change all their lives and end up in a terrifying clash between what's good and moral and what's not.

I'm not a religious woman, and yet somehow I could relate to this. Maybe because I was brought up in a catholic household and the women came originally from Bruges, the beguineconvict I have so often seen (my mother lived for 9 years in Bruges), but it didn't put me off. I added more of that medieval sense of time. 
What can I say more? For anyone who loves a good and long medieval story, don't pass this one up. 

Personal score: 4 stars