The Wistful and the Good by G. M. Baker - review
“Not a child.”
Elswyth certainly isn’t any more, as she sits on the clifftops of Twyford, dreaming of adventure, travel and the attentions of young sailors from the sea and plowboys from her father’s fields. All men look at her with lust (except for the resident monk) though none can touch, for she is no slave as her mother once was, but the future bride of the heir of Bamburgh. Hands off, say the rules of society. Hands off say the rules of trade.
Two weeks after the Viking raids on the monastery at Lindisfarne, the entire coastline is alert for trouble. And when a Norsk ship brings old friends to Twyford, and the thegn Attor’s hall, with treasures to trade and tales of their own attacks by the Viking, fear from Bamburgh runs deep. No traders are to be trusted, especially ones with eyes for the heir’s future bride. Despite Elwyth’s peaceweaving skills and her parent’s attempts to explain that the sailors are oath-kin, not their enemies, Drefan isn’t convinced.
Leif, captain of the ship, in his father’s stead, has worries of his own. He needs to raise the ransom for his kidnapped father and restore faith in their people. He has no time for love or lust, even though Elswyth is no longer the child he remembers. But he knows the rules of trade. Hands off the daughters of the men you trade with. Yet how will it look to others when she steals away with him to look at the treasures he carries aboard his ship?
G. M. Baker’s, Wistful and the Good, is filled with everything that makes a great story legendary. Love and adventure, greed and pride, peace weaving and deception, fire and a tragic, bloody and fatal battle. He weaves a story as intriguing and captivating as any man’s tale in the great hall, and he does it with the most delightful characters, all of whom will have you laughing, and crying, and anticipating the next tale in his Cuthbert’s People saga.
In the company of Ken Follet’s Kingsbridge Series and Bernard Cornwall’s The Last King, G. M. Baker’s stories are magnificently written, carefully crafted tales that will leave you wondering how soon you can get your hands on the next one.
But you can get the first one here: