Saturday, July 2, 2016
Though Heaven Fall
Though Heaven Fall: A Medieval Parable
Old London Press
"The sins we commit on earth are like pebbles upon a scale, each weighing a man's soul heavier and heavier. If his soul is too heavy, you see, it cannot soar aloft to God. Bus when we pray and atone, only then may we lift each pebble--one by one--free of this scale."
In the thirteenth century in England, life's hard.
For Edric, he is barely surviving. He is a cripple with a clubfoot who roams the streets of England, begging and or stealing and even occasionally earning a little money playing music on his pipe.
As fate would have it, Edric unwittingly saves someone's life who just happens to believe that he is an angel. Yes, Edric saves an angel, Azriel.
Who is Azreil? He could be Brother Peter, the missing "Mad Monk" from a nearby monastery. Brother Peter is mentally ill. Could Azreil be Brother Peter? Can a mentally ill person be an angel from heaven?
Azreil believes that God has sent him to earth on a temporary quest as punishment. He can't remember what was the wrongdoing. He does remember his feelings of shame and regret.
When Azreil and Edric join in song, the twosome attracts the attention of the commoners and money. Azreil does sing like an angel. Even Edric begins to question whether he is one.
At the monastery, Brother Latimer is extremely concerned about Brother Peter's disappearance. He is well aware that the world does not treat mentally ill people fairly.
Sir Hugh Varney is assigned the task of finding Brother Peter. Remember there is only a description of him at this time in history. Added to this, Sir Hugh has cancer and is looking for spiritual answers to his destiny.
Somehow all of these characters interact in discovering their answers in a type of quest.
The characters in Though Heaven Fall excel in Westerson's tale with the reader recognizing each ones' strength and short-comings. The action is fast-paced, and a slightly resembles Don Quixote in the adventures. There is murder, humor, compassion, unfairness, in this tale that searches for justice.
Jeri Westerson has written numerous historical adventures in her Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series. She is a native of Los Angeles, California. Some of her previous novels are Veil of Lies, Serpent in the Thorns, The Demon's Parchment, Troubled Bones, Blood Lance, Shadow of the Alchemist, and Cup of Blood.
Westerson is a master storyteller with the exceptionally well-developed characters in Though Heaven Fall.