Age Range: 12 & up
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 At 11, Juliana witnesses the first wave of the Norman's invasion in 1066. With her home destroyed, her father dead in battle, and her mother probably headed for sanctuary with a Norman relative, Juliana earns a meager living as a scullery maid. Months later, she finds her younger brother Wulfric, and the two make the perilous journey to Canterbury. There, Wulfric enters a monastery, as he has always planned to do; after several menial jobs that barely sustain her, Juliana becomes (by a series of believable circumstances) one of the workers on the Bayeux tapestry, commissioned by King William's brother Odo. In an epilogue, Juliana reflects that ``one dealt as one was able with a conqueror's heel,'' enumerating the contrasting experiences of her near and dear: one brother has become an outlaw Saxon rebel; a former bondswoman has found a way to ``climb to freedom''; her mother has married an English-born Norman noble, who unexpectedly turns out to be a gentle old man; she herself has declared her independence from their rank and authority and will continue to make her own way. A generous quantity of historical detail enriches the story, but the focus stays on Juliana, a fiercely loyal and conscientious Saxon, and on her harrowing, eventful quest for a modus vivendi under the Norman yoke. Solid, entertaining historical fiction that will appeal to Sutcliff's readers and that also has many interesting parallels with books about WW II. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1991
ISBN: 0-689-50532-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991


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