The Oblate's Confession
The Dark Ages, England: a warrior gives his son to a monastery that rides the border between two rival Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Growing up in a land wracked by war and plague, the child learns of the oath that binds him to the church and forces a cruel choice upon him. To love one father, he must betray another. The decision he makes shatters his world and haunts him forever. This quietly exotic novel places us compellingly in another time, another place, where chieftains fear holy men, holy men fear the world, and prayer has the primal force of fire. While entirely a work of fiction, the novel's background is historically accurate. In the midst of a tale that touches the human in all of us, readers will find themselves treated to a history of the Dark Ages unlike anything available today outside of textbooks and original source material.
Secant Publishing Llc 416 pages
almost 6 years ago
William Peak's The Oblate's Confession is a beautifully written fictional study of an oblate (think Monk's apprentice) within a medieval monastery. It's essentially as series of loosely related vignettes in the life of Winwd, son of Ceolwulf, as an oblate who is placed in some unique roles within the community at Redstone. The stories are from his perspective. Mr. Peak does a beautiful job, using Winwd, to convey the life and times of a 7th century monastic community and the village and people around it while establishing its place in the Anglo-Saxon world. One of the aspects of his writing I love is his ability to provide empathetic, genuine-feeling characters and their perspective of the world. There is a thread of what Winwd considers his great sin that is woven throughout the narrative which a more jaded author would present a negative light where it's silly of him to think his prayer had the impact it did. Mr. Peak takes his world in a serious manner, not belittling the characters who people it for having a medieval point of view nor does he belittle their life of faith. He does have his characters step back and assess their life but it's never simple dismissed carte blanche. [Note: I received an advanced review copy through Netgalley for an honest review. The Oblate's Confession will be available December 1st.]
There is a challenge Mr. Peak has given his readers, however. There is no overall story arc to which the narrative drives. There's no climax, no crescendo and no big reveal. No point to which the book drives. Like most of our lives, there are some smaller climatic moments, there are highs and lows and there are things we discover. While there may be a purpose to our lives, it's often not obviously written. So too for Winwd. Now, the descriptions, vignettes, characters and writing are all worthwhile without having some big story to tell, but this is a heads-up to those of you who need that kind of story. I personally think that if there is somewhere it all drives, it makes for a more compelling read and provides a framework to present the characters and places. I think Mr. Peaks next work could benefit from doing so. However, I want to be very clear: as it stands, this was a truly delightful book to read, I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't need a fast-pasted page-turner and knowing how it's structured, I would read it again. I also think there are a number of life lessons to be gleaned from Winwd and his world.
For full review: http://wp.me/p2XCwQ-12n
3 days ago
This book is well thought out as well as being well written. You can also publish your stories in NovelStar, just email our editors firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The details of the competition happening this April to the end of May is in the link.