Tuesday 15 January 2019

Review - The Raven's Wing, by Michael Wombat

The Raven's WingThe Raven's Wing by Michael Wombat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where do I begin to try and impart the colourful, magical, mysterious, and intriguing story and characters Michael Wombat has created with this magnificent novel? I am not really a reader of historical fiction, but this book is so much more than that - it is a mystery, a crime thriller, a whodunnit, a psychological thriller and it dabbles in magical realism. It has so much to offer.

The characters are well developed, layered, perfect and flawed in every way that makes them captivating, allowing the reader to feel connected and care about them. I feel like I have been a part of all their lives: John, Moss, Jenifry, Pentecost, Ailred, Ralf, even Wyni, John's wife, who is a ghost. There are fabulous twists and shocking turns, and everything that real life can throw at you, yet set in the medieval times. The backdrop is real and gritty and engages all the senses - some less desirable, like how people's effluence was disposed of and corpses rot.

Inadvertently I have also learnt a great deal about life in medieval times: from the language of the time, to the politics, religion, hierarchy, and day to day life of both peasant and gentry. It was eyeopening and yet related to current day. There are extensive notes in the back to support everything and explain things for the nosy reader, like myself.

The story itself is fast paced and barely gives you time to catch your breath as you move onto the next gripping scene. It follows Minstrel John on his quest to avenge his wife's murder, after being left an intriguing object at her funeral, which he then tracks down to the the owner, who needs his help as their fates intertwine. There is violence, there is death and murder, and even attacks by wolves. And there is witchcraft and magic. Personally I couldn't want more from a book.

Michael Wombat has a way with words that is beguiling, and together with the usage of words from the time and the dialect, as well as translated lyrics from medieval songs and his own wonderful poetry, it a pleasing and easy read that flows well. I encourage everyone to give it a read, you won't regret it.

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