I love a challenge!
Before the end of the year I blogged about Book Riot’s Read Harder 2017 challenge. But I recently heard about a 2017 challenge from the Read Diverse Books blog. The rules for the link-up are pretty simple.
- Books written by people of color or Native/Indigenous Peoples.
- Books by or about people with disabilities (physical, neurodiversity, etc.)
- Books with LGBTQIA protagonists or about LGBTQIA issues
And I already have my first book!
The King’s Bishop by Candace Robb
Welshman Owen Archer lost an eye during the war between England and France. The whole story is recounted at least once in every book, although sometimes rather briefly. A one-eyed archer isn’t very effective, so he was offered a position as a spy for John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. Archer accepts the job, not realizing that he has forged a relationship which will send him all over the country and determine the course of his future.
Archer’s disability seems to have become merely a fact of life, as far as how he deals with it. He wears an eye patch and he can get around just fine. But when another character asks him if he misses his other eye, Archer replies that he thinks about it every single day. Given the violent nature of war and the primitive state of medicine, such an injury would have been common. What’s remarkable, IMO, is that he survived the treatment and went on to have a productive life. He often worries about what people think when they see him, and in fact, many characters recognize him by this disfigurement. But his baby girl doesn’t even seem to notice, which is about the way most babies would react IRL.
This is the 4th book in the series and it revolves around a political struggle between the pope and king. By now, Archer is married and working as apprentice to his wife the apothecary. A young page dies while his master is visiting the archbishop and his death might just link back to treason against the crown.
I felt like this one had lots of people, lots of talking, and not as much of the historical detail that makes medieval books good. The whole political situation was just confusing and dull. I appreciate that all the main characters are based on actual historical figures, including the Archbishop, King Edward III of England, his mistress, Alice Perrars, and others. But I was just lost in the political maneuvering. It probably didn’t help that I was a little distracted while reading this one, but I don’t think I’ll read any more by this author.
My other current reads are Ever the Hunted by Erin Summerhill, Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett, and Rain: A Natural and Cultural History by Cynthia Barnett.