On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...1212
My thanks to the author for my ecopy of this book
1212. The Chartrain, France.
Gui is a troubled priest who has been shielding his secret family for years.
Agnes, his beloved, is a falsely-accused heretic he rescued from the Inquisition’s pyre.
Their son Etienne, unaware of his father’s true identity, is coming of age. Tired of his lowly shepherd’s life, he seeks adventure. The Crusade is the perfect opportunity to prove himself to the world. He has no reason to suspect the men offering him passage overseas are not what they seem.
Discovering that Etienne has been sold into slavery, Gui and Agnes set off to find him. If Gui is ever to tell his son the truth, he must give up his comfortable compromises and fight the battle of his life against the institution he has served devoutly.
Meanwhile, Agnes guards a secret of her own; she must face her past in a confrontation with the venal Amaury, Lord of Maintenon, that will either set her free or claim her life.
If they are to save their son and expose the slave trade, they must risk everything to overcome the powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to protect their positions and silence them.
What did I think about it..
The Devil's Crossing is a fascinating glimpse into a period of history that I hadn't heard of before, namely, The Children's Crusade which took place in France and Italy during the tumultuous early years of the thirteenth century.
Gui and Agnes live, from necessity, a quiet life, each have secrets they would rather not expose and it breaks Gui's heart not to be able to acknowledge that Etienne is his son for these are dangerous times and there are those who seek to do Gui, Agnes and Etienne great harm.
The author writes well and brings this forgotten period in history alive in a very readable and thrilling way. There is much to take in both in terms of plot and malice and there's an array of decidedly villainous characters who make your blood run cold. Throughout the story there's a real sense of danger especially as we get drawn further into the story of the crusade and Gui and Agnes's desperate search for Etienne, who, inadvertently, gets himself caught up in a situation which will lead them all into grave danger.
Complex, intriguing, and with a real sense of time and place, The Devil's Crossing is a dark and dramatic story by a talented new author. It's definitely a story which will stay with me for quite some time.
About the Author
Hana Cole is a novelist and historian. Born in Essex to an Anglo-Italian family, she studied Economics at the London School of Economics and Medieval History at Oxford where she gained her Masters. After living in Turin for several years, she travelled widely in the Middle East and India before returning to the UK. She has worked as a film subtitle translator, financial analyst and a yoga teacher. She now lives in Manningtree, Essex, with her husband, daughter and two cats.