A New Perspective on a Famous Moment in European History
Christopher Largent, Author, gives the back-story of the 1066 Battle of Hastings from a surprising perspective. In his new novel, Tapestry, the author offers a first-person tale based on the famous Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy, France, revealing it to be an elegant cover-up rather than a reporting of actual events.
Opening in 1035 AD, Tapestry focuses on a mysterious emissary whose life entwines with the characters that move behind the events leading to the Norman Conquest of England — which turns out to be very different from what historians have supposed.
The emissary engages with fascinating male and female characters, both famous and little known, including William the Conqueror, William's mother Arlette and his wife Matilda, Edward the Confessor, Kings Magnus and Harald "Hardraada" of Norway, Earl Harold of Wessex, and famed teacher Lanfranc of Pavia, the mentor of St. Anselm.
Trained in diplomacy, the emissary also studies healing and vision-seeking with a European herbalist, the last Icelandinc prophetess/seer of the Old Religion of Odin and Thor, and a Native shaman/wise man.
In this travels, the emissary moves through a huge range of ancient locales: Normandy, Flanders, Denmark, Norway, the Shetland and Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and ancient North America, so that the reader experiences delights from charming trading towns to the dazzling Northern Lights.
Told in a first-person 11th-Century voice, Tapestry lifts the reader out of 20th-Century mental habits to experience a perspective without Freudian psychology, existential despair, power politics, or psychopathic evil — all inventions of the 20th Century. The result is both engaging and refreshing.
The novel also occurs before the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Black Plague, so for 11th-Century citizens, this era was not some grimy "Dark Age" but a New Age, in which religion and diplomacy, as much as politics and military strategies, defined and reformed the world. As one of the novel's characters notes, even the weather was good in this century.
The overall result is a novel that readers have described as "a joy to read," "a masterpiece of writing," and a "delightful lesson in history," with "characters that you love." The consistent criticism of this engaging novel is: "It's too short."