And here we come to week 6 in the 52 Book Challenge. I am not naive enough to think anyone is following this so closely they will notice the break in continuity, it would appear I have jumped from week 2 to week 6, but I haven't really. Week 3 I was busy and so left a comment on the "host" blog I link up with. Week 4 I was in London, so my book crossing friend kindly left a comment for me. And, week 5 I didn't get the book finished and didn't have time to blog either. And so we come to week 6. (week 3 was "The Night of the Big Wind" by Peter Carr, and week 4 was "Thin Air" by Ann Cleeves)
My book of choice was "The Clerkenwell Tales" by Peter Ackroyd. This is a retelling of the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. Peter Ackroyd follows the line that Chaucer's characters are everyman. There is a Wife of Bath in every town in England. And so he sets his characters in Clerkenwell, London. Although set in the same time period as Chaucer's, the 14th century, this thankfully is written in modern day English.
Richard 11 is on the throne but Henry Bolingbroke is planning to depose him and take the throne for himself. The country is full of intrigue and counter espionage. There are poisonings, suicide bombers, religious sects, and false prophets to mention but a few of the goings on. Plus ca change as they say. What seems like a loose collection of people have links through a revolutionary group, but the intrigue deepens, are they what they seem or is another even more secret revolutionary group pulling their strings. In the background the colourful life of the inhabitants goes on, the eating, the drinking, the living.
My son had recommended this book to me. He knows how much I enjoyed the Wolf Hall books by Hilary Mantel and also Philippa Gregory's historical novels. I must admit at first I found it rather a challenge. It was like an A Level or university read, not necessarily a novel I would read for fun. Within a few chapters I found myself drawn into the intrigue and enjoyed it very much. I have another couple of books by Peter Ackroyd in the house, both non fiction and look forward to reading them.
The book I intend reading next is "Emma" by Alexander McCall Smith, a retelling of the Jane Austen story novel.