THE RUTHLESS YEOMEN by Valerie Anand

THE RUTHLESS YEOMEN

Vol. II of Bridges Over Time
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The second installment in Anand's Bridges Over Time series (launched last year with The Proud Villains), which does Medieval English history from the points of view of its lowliest--a passel of serfs in East Anglia, who, here especially, look at a person as though they ``wanted to rob you, or eat you.'' That's what can be seen in the eyes of Isabel of Northfield, wife of Alfred Plowman as the story commences. She's inherited the medallion with the strange device from book one, which symbolizes that her family was formerly much more highfalutin. Thus, once Alfred dies, Isabel will stop at almost nothing to better her condition in life--implicating the Abbess of Redesmarch for witchcraft, then offering herself to a widowed freeman, Herbert Grosney of Normansland, who enjoys her for several years before marrying a woman of his own class. Isabel meets a mean end, then, though the story goes on to contemplate the fortunes of yet another line of the family, Nicola and Thomas Woodcarver. These two make hay during the devastation of the plague, looting their master's house and running off to Essex, where they set themselves up as freemen at an abandoned farm. Heirs are a problem, however, especially when their grandson heads off to London with Wat Tyler, leader of the failed Peasant Revolt of 1381. Still, never doubt that this family will go on. As usual, Anand stages history nicely, though her books seldom compel as fiction.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08884-1
Page count: 342pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993




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