The Perfect Sinner
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...
A dual-time tale of Chaucer’s Knight and a modern family linked by a medieval tower where some strange old traditions are still honoured. It’s a mesmerising tale of reconciliation, loyalty and rediscovering the past, a beautiful novel from a fine, lyric writer. The Painter is his previous work (about Rembrandt, highly recommended) but he also writes as James Long and his best work is another historical tale of love across the ages, Ferney, one of my all time favourite books but sadly out of print!
Comparisons: Tracy Chevalier, Audrey Niffenegger, Robert Goddard.
Similar this month: Sylvian Hamilton, Jojo Moyes.
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The Perfect Sinner by Will Davenport
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.
‘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
About the Author
Publication date7th March 2005
More books by Will Davenport
Author 'Like for Like'
CategoriesModern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
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