This week for What We’re Reading, Publicity Manager Joe Thomas is sharing with us a book that he has recently finished that he described as ‘a cracking, epic historical fantasy novel’ – The Story of Silence by Alex Myers, which is published on 9th July by Harper Voyager.
What’s it about?
There was once, long ago, a foolish king who decreed that women should not, and would not, inherit. Thus when a girl-child was born to Lord Cador – Merlin-enchanted fighter of dragons and Earl of Cornwall – he secreted her away: to be raised a boy so that the family land and honour would remain intact.
That child’s name was Silence.
Silence must find their own place in a medieval world that is determined to place the many restrictions of gender and class upon them. With dreams of knighthood and a lonely heart to answer, Silence sets out to define themselves.
Soon their silence will be ended.
What follows is a tale of knights and dragons, of bards, legends and dashing strangers with hidden secrets. Taking the original French legend as his starting point, The Story of Silence is a rich, multilayered new story for today’s world – sure to delight fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale.
What did Joe think?
‘It’s a fantastic Arthurian fantasy, complete with duels, battles, wizards, prophecies, questionable kings and wandering minstrels, but it’s actually based on a medieval text from the 13th century. The King of England has decreed that women cannot inherit the lands and titles of their Fathers – if an Earl doesn’t have a son when he dies, then the land is automatically granted to the King (it’s basically a medieval king being incredibly medieval and trying to fill his own pockets).
When ‘Silence’, the first (and only) child of the Earl of Cornwall is born as a girl, the Earl decides to hide Silence’s ‘nature’ and raises him as a boy instead. As it’s based in the 13th century, so much of our current terminology and language about gender just didn’t exist, so it’s a really interesting exploration of gender concepts at the time, wrapped up in a cracking, epic historical fantasy novel!’
If you liked this, we think you’ll love:
The Beauty of the Wolf by Wray Delaney
In the age of the Faerie Queene, Elizabeth I, Lord Francis Rodermere starts to lay waste to a forest.
Furious, the sorceress who dwells there scrawls a curse into the bark of the first oak he fells: A faerie boy will be born to you whose beauty will be your death.
Ten years later, Lord Rodermere’s son, Beau is born – and all who encounter him are struck by his great beauty.
Meanwhile, many miles away in a London alchemist’s cellar lives Randa – a beast deemed too monstrous to see the light of day. And so begins a timeless tale of love, tragedy and revenge…