Darkly gothic tale of magic and horror. Karen Maitland conjures a potent brew of mystery and menace. Not as spellbinding as ‘Company of Liars’ but good for a winter’s night.
The Raven’s Head is a strange and unsettling mix of the supernatural and the stark, harsh reality of life in the Dark Ages. The silver raven’s head of the title is obtained by nefarious means by Vincent, an apprentice who betrays and blackmails his way out of France to arrive in an England replete with menace and mayhem.
The tone and style is almost Chaucerian at times but the portrayal of the cell of monks and their treatment of the children in their care, is deeply chilling and creepy.
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Karen Maitland’s first; ‘The Company of Liars’ which I thought was excellent but I suppose it’s on a par with the other one of hers that I have read; ‘The Gallows Curse’
The writing is certainly evocative and atmospheric it just leaves me a bit perplexed as to whether I like the fusion of fantasy and reality to the extent that you find in this book.
I did like the twist at the end when the raven’s head gains a new master/mistress and really liked the inclusion of the Historical notes at the end which put things nicely into context.
If you like your fiction dark, earthy and full of foreboding, then you’ve come to the right place!The Raven’s Head
It’s said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but you would be right to expect a lavish, epic read within the pages of such a gorgeous looking book. It whips along at a cracking pace as we veer between time and place in the unfolding story of Tom and Alice and a relationship that begins in childhood. Kate Darling is our present-day narrator who finds a letter and a drawing that starts her on a journey of discovery into the past and her and her family’s place within it.
As much as I enjoyed reading this book, I have to say that I did grow increasingly frustrated at some of the choices that the main characters make and question whether or not anyone would really act in that way/make that decision etc. I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll leave you to judge for yourself!
All in all, this book is very much in the style of Kate Morton and Katherine Webb and if you like their books, you won’t go far wrong with this very assured debut from Lucy Foley.[Top]
A perfect curled up by the fire, wintry read that takes a while to get going but is fantastic at creating a mood of unease and foreboding as the story unfolds.
You really get a sense of how difficult life was like for settlers in such an unforgiving place and the murder that starts the story off, shows how swiftly mistrust and suspicion can grow in such an insular community.
This is an assured debut and a successful blend of Scandi murder mystery and historical fable.[Top]