Dance of Stone

Dance of Stone Late Twelfth Century England A Country Of Divided Loyalties While The Lionheart Is On Crusade Hugh De Barham, Master Mason At Wells, Walks A Dangerous Path Between Glastonbury And Wells As The Two Vie For Supremacy, A Path Made Dangerous Still By The Fact That Hugh, If He Could, Would Share His Bed Not With Women But With Men.The Only Way To Stay Safe Is To Keep His Head Down, But Building The Church Of His Dreams Is No Way To Do That And Then There Is Arnaut L Occitan What Does This Stranger From Provence Want With Hugh And Can He, Or Anyone, Be Trusted Caveat I had the privilege of editing this book on behalf of Manifold Press, so that may make me biased On the other hand, as anyone with editing, proofing or betaing experience would know, if you can still whole heartedly love a book after working through 98k words of it again and again, then surely that means something good This is a terrific story, fully immersed in the medieval world It is chock full of detail about how it must have been to live back then and yet the details never detract from the story, which forges steadily on Indeed, the details serve only to bring to vivid life the characters and their world.You will know Hugh mason inside and out by the time you re done At times, you will know him better than he does himself The elements of his life assemble themselves around him at an early point, but he doesn t always realise their true significance, and he has a long road to travel before he does I loved him for being a good man at heart, and stubborn, too Stubborn isn t always attractive here i
Saint Andrew s Cathedral, Wells, Somerset, England John Simlett, 2012 Merveilleux What a fabulous tale and what a great storyteller The Middle Ages is one of my favorite eras and as long as I can remember Gothic architecture has always fascinated me, so I was bound to read Dance of Stone This novel is a wonderful invitation to discover an outstanding cast of vibrant characters, flawed and complex, in other words all too human Their way of life is in line with nature and the seasons and we re able to share their everyday lives year after year but also to experience their joy and their suffering, their love and their sorrow, their despair as well as their hope.These are troubled times where uncertain allegiances make life difficult, where scheming isn t unusual and where greed and pettiness are dangerous.I simply fell irrevocably in love with Hugh and I found myself quite fond of Arnaut and so many of the other major and even minor characters By the end, you know
Jay Lewis Taylor s Dance of Stone is a powerful, fascinating and beautifully crafted historical novel, focused on nine years in the life of Hugh de Barham, a master mason, who wants only to build great churches The date is 1192, during the Reign of Richard Lionheart, and all over Christendom ambitious bishops are imagining fantastic structures to be built to the Glory of God and as testaments to their own earthly influence Hugh finds himself caught up in the power plays of these men, and struggles to hold onto his integrity and his livelihood Some of us know Ken Follett s Pillars of the Earth, an epic novel set in medieval England during the building of a great cathedral It is a book that captivated my generation s imagination, and was so well respected that it was used in medieval history courses Dance of Stone is every bit as fine as Pillars of the Earth, and while physically a smaller novel with an intentionally smaller focus, it embraces the same heroic moment Taylor s closely studied narrative offers us vividly painted portraits that take us into the heart of life in a medieval English cathedral town But Taylor takes us somewhere else Hugh de Barham is a man attracted to men, and therein lies all the difference in the world The romance novel was born in the Middle Ages, although its early form was nothing like what we know today Indeed the word for novel in French is roman or romance I was a French major in university Taylor s Hugh is an amazing character
A wide sweeping historical epic that will take you back to the days of stone masons, cathedral builders, religion and church politics This book is not for the faint hearted, beautifully written, full of historical details, spans several years as we follow the life of Hugh.Hugh de Barham is Master Mason at Wells Cathedral and if anyone has ever visited Wells or any other European cathedral it is truly astounding what they managed to build in this day and age with no modern technology to help them Hugh is struggling with his sexuality or I should say he knows exactly what he is and prefers but in this time not a good idea to advertise the fact Hugh is travelling to Wells and on his travels meets Arnaut l Occitan a secretive stranger and is obviously very interested in Hugh but Hugh s affections are for someone else, Godric, who was his guide to Glastonbury and now lives with Hugh as his servant Hugh is attracted to Godric and doesn t see the affections from Arnaut, so we have your typical case of not seeing what is right under your no
This book gave me the same intense pleasure derived from historical sagas by Michener James A and Edward Rutherford and Dance Of Stone shares many dramatic elements with Ken Follett s The Pillars of the Earth It will appeal to anyone who loves medieval historicals.Hugh de Barham aka Hugh Mason is ambitious he s got the artisan skills, the hard won training, the good eye and inspired vision to bring splendid architectural splendour from masonry The book draws a strong character growth arc for Hugh starting from a bold move to take over as head mason of a cathedral rebuilding at the town of Wells He leaves his landlord lover with some regret but is driven by his opportunity to make his name and mark in the world.The first half of the book is focused on Hugh s establishing his credentials and leadership as head mason with his team of workers, labourers and craftsmen A strong line up of characters are given life by the author head foreman, housekeeper, boy apprentice, church Dean, conniving steward, powerful churchmen, local baronetcy, even English royalty this is the time of the crusader King Richard the Lionheart and his brother John, the Landless.Amidst the struggle to find quality stone and juggling the finances to pay his workers, Hugh battles his inner demons haunted in his dreams and waking hours by tragic deaths and murder which he was helpless to prevent Our hero is well aware of his desire to give and receive love from his own gender seemingly
This book is not an M M Romance It s a historical novel with a gay protagonist, Hugh, a master mason The book follows him for about 8 9 years and is very slow until the last 5% where a little spark of romance and angst finally happens.There is virtually no sex and no fantasy element present I ve noticed some readers have it on their fantasy paranormal shelves.If you are a history geek, the book is definitely for you If you are looking for a romance or feisty knights elves bards, I suggest you loo
Rich in historical detail, this story will immerse you in medieval England Spanning about 10 years in the late 12th century, this story follows the life of master mason Hugh de Barham against a backdrop of church politics On the personal side, there are two love interests Godric and Arnaut Although there are a few truly nasty characters, I like that most of
Full 4.5 beautiful star reviewage on Prism Book AllianceFrom page one, I was able to settle in and get comfy for this read Why is that The writing It has a very relaxed vibe, creating a just as relaxed tone and atmosphere, no rushing, just taking its time in telling me the story.The characters are mature people with senses of humor filled with warm, wry natures Happiness and sarcasm go hand in hand By the middle of chapter three, character development was at an obviously high level.Such vivid descriptions of sound and place helped build that relaxed and well defined atmosphere, leading me fully into the world of 12th century England Food could become scarce in a heartbeat No one assumes everyone may have extra, or even enough for all seated at the table Often times, surnames are still those of the person s profession, like John carver or James scribe Can we say history gasm I think sooooo Politics are alive and well, enemies are sometimes bullishly obvious and sometimes hidden in dark corners, just like those of the church of which Hugh de Barham is leading construction Henry de Soilly who, like other men that he had met from Calvados in the past, was all sweetness and apple blossom on the surface, and tough as Normandy limestone under the skin.Hugh de Barham, o
Master mason Hugh, caught up in the swirling politics of the years of Richard I s absence from England, simply wants to be allowed to build churches to his God, but sometimes it seems as though the Church itself is trying to prevent that His personal life is equally confused and even difficult to negotiate.I haven t felt as thoroughly immersed in the twelfth century since reading the Br
I loved Peacock s Eye and now Dance of Stone quality writing, research, and storytelling that put me right in the medieval setting and held me spellbound I didn t want this one to end, either, and happily give it 10 stars.