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The Troubadour's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries) (Volume 5) Paperback – January 30, 2018
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About the Author
Ann Swinfen is the author of the highly acclaimed series, The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez. Set in the late sixteenth century, it features a young Marrano physician recruited as a code-breaker and spy in Walsingham’s secret service. In order, the books are: The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez, The Enterprise of England, The Portuguese Affair, Bartholomew Fair, Suffer the Little Children, Voyage to Muscovy, The Play’s the Thing, That Time May Cease and The Lopez Affair. Her Fenland Series takes place in East Anglia during the seventeenth century. In the first book, Flood, both men and women fight desperately to save their land from greedy and unscrupulous speculators. The second, Betrayal, continues the story of the dangerous search for legal redress and security for the embattled villagers, at a time when few could be trusted. Her latest series, Oxford Medieval Mysteries, is set in the fourteenth century and features bookseller Nicholas Elyot, a young widower with two small children, and his university friend Jordain Brinkylsworth, who are faced with crime in the troubled world following the Black Death. In order, the books are: The Bookseller’s Tale, The Novice’s Tale, The Huntsman’s Tale, The Merchant’s Tale, and The Troubadour’s Tale. Both this series and the Christoval Alvarez series are being recorded as unabridged audiobooks. She has also written two standalone novels. The Testament of Mariam, set in the first century, recounts, from an unusual perspective, one of the most famous and yet ambiguous stories in human history, while exploring life under a foreign occupying force, in lands still torn by conflict to this day. This Rough Ocean is based on the real-life experiences of the Swinfen family during the 1640s, at the time of the English Civil War, when John Swynfen was imprisoned for opposing the killing of the king, and his wife Anne had to fight for the survival of her children and dependents. Both are available as unabridged audiobooks. She now lives on the northeast coast of Scotland, with her husband, formerly vice-principal of the University of Dundee, a rescue cat called Maxi and a cocker spaniel called Suki. Receive notifications of new books and audios by signing up to the mailing list at www.annswinfen.com/sign-up/ and follow her monthly blog by subscribing at www. http://annswinfen.com/blog/ Website www.annswinfen.com
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But it doesn’t matter. This is really a novel about human endurance—one that depicts both the hardships and joys of English life in the 14th century, following the plague.
Nicholas Elyot, the Oxford bookseller at the heart of the story (and series), is a profoundly good man who convinces family and friends to spend Christmas in his boyhood home of Leighton, where his elderly mother still lives. On their journey, the travelers encounter fierce storms, fend off thieves, and entangle themselves with a mysterious group of troubadours—who expose them to even greater dangers.
The narrative is slow-paced, but emotionally satisfying, subtly making the case that even the harshest times and conditions cannot diminish the human spirit when animated by faith and love. This finely crafted novel takes its genre to a higher level, especially in chapters describing that journey to Leighton and the midnight Mass service in the manor church. “The Troubadour’s Tale” is a book to read immediately and then, perhaps, to reread every holiday season.
I love spending time with Nicholas and his family and friends. The only negative is that I finished Ann's book too quickly and I have to wait for the next one.