Plot: Hutson-Wiley’s intricate plot charts Thomas’s travels across the heart of the Christian and Muslim worlds. The author’s sensitive portrayal of the time period will resonate with readers.
Prose/Style: Hutson-Wiley’s prose is atmospheric, capturing the realities of the time – including its prejudices – with accuracy.
Originality: Hutson-Wiley’s lively story reimagines a world confined to history book with dynamism and surprisingly heartfelt writing.
Character Development/Execution: Thomas’s likability and frank narration will draw in any reader.
Blurb: This well-researched historical drama is a must for readers who love being swept away to a different time. Thomas’s adventures as a physician during early medieval period are filled with political intrigue.
Date Submitted: June 15, 2021
The author’s extensive historical research adds realism to the novel with depictions of actual historical figures and events. Those unfamiliar with the turmoil and conflict, including wars, between different faiths and cultures in the 12th century, as empires expanded and contracted, may find the plotline challenging to follow. The addition of a glossary at the conclusion, however, helps familiarize readers with the terminology referencing places, religions, and other terms with Latin, Arabic, and Persian origins.
Though Thoma is a 12th-century physician, his internal conflicts and musings about his Muslim origins and subsequent Christian baptism is a conflict that transcends time, providing him with an authentic voice that will resonate with contemporary readers: “There was no escape from my difference. Half Moor, half Christian; half English, half Arab.” As Thoma comes to terms with his religious convictions, he must figure out how to balance his duties as a physician with his vow to discover what happened to his father. These ever-present thoughts form the basis for many of Thoma’s decisions, propelling the plotline swiftly forward as his travels and adventures are highlighted by an undercurrent of mystery and ever-present dangers. This thoughtful, detailed narrative will draw readers in.
Takeaway: A 12th-century physician navigates the dangers of illness and religious battles while searching for clues to his father’s fate in this intriguing novel.
Great for fans of: Dan Jones’s The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God's Holy Warriors, Susan Peek’s Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: A