Stunning novel of the life of historical figure Sir Guy de Bryan, likely model for the knight in Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’, and the resonances in the present-day life of a young political adviser, hungry for power but avoiding her own history
Slapton, Devon, 1372. Sir Guy de Bryan, trusted friend of Edward III, consecrates a magnificent Chantry, his personal bulwark against the torments of purgatory. Yet he is known as an honorable man. Why should he fear for his eternal soul?
Sir Guy harbours three sins, violations of the chivalric code he holds so dear. The first, he has atoned for; he was more of a witness than perpetrator of the second; the third he cannot confess. Yet when he is called upon to lead a dangerous mission across the Alps, he finds one of his companions strangely interested in his tale. The young squire has an uncanny ability to draw out the truth…and in doing so, elicits a remarkable story of rivalry, murderous deception and deep passion.
Over six hundred years later, high-flying policy adviser Beth Battock is forced to return to her home village in Devon when her prized career is rocked by scandal. Prompted by a local stone carver, who is painstakingly restoring the searing inscription once displayed on the Chantry, Beth must recognise her own history and that of her family, the thread that binds them to the de Bryans, and that the consequences of her actions cannot be divorced from what went before, in love and war.
Will Davenport has taken a potent collection of historical facts and woven them into an astoundingly haunting and compelling novel. In medieval and modern times, mankind makes the same mistakes; but the words of a wise knight who lived it all, both politically and personally, have a clarity that resonates through the centuries.
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‘Will Davenport has written a powerful novel about a journey across Europe in the fourteenth century by a man reviewing his own past and his own sin. The characters are utterly convincing as they struggle with the wild conditions of mediaeval Europe and their own guilts and fears. This is also a time-shift book. The hero's modern descendant is facing her own destiny and is forced to confront the dangers in her own, contemporary society. It is a novel about England and the nature of being English across six centuries which will fascinate any lover of good historical fiction.’ Philippa Gregory
Praise for THE PAINTER
‘Thrilling resonance between past and present, painting and people’ Tony Parsons
‘Exciting, grips the reader’ Evening PressAbout the Author:
Will Davenport also writes under the name James Long. For many years he was a correspondent for the BBC. He now lives in Devon with his family, and pursues his twin interests of writing and archaeology.
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