The Silver Falcon by Katia Fox
All William wanted to be was a falconer. All his mother wanted him to be was a blacksmith like her. The rescuing of the King's rare white falcon places William's feet on a unforeseen and difficult path that would test and shape him and reveal secrets of kings and commoners. He would experience, fear, poverty, success, love and joy. He would be hunted by powerful enemies and he would talk to kings. He would make true friends and win hearts. His love of falconry would always be his driving force.
Through William's eyes we glimpse fascinating aspects about the art of falconry. In the training of these birds of prey for hunting , seeIing (the sewing together of the bird's eyelids) is part of the common practice. Sickened by this William swears to discover another way to train his birds. As William's story unfolds we are treated to a colourful and intriguing view of life in medieval England during the reigns of Richard and John.
The power of lords and the highborn over the common people, women as bargaining chips in the carving out and consolidation of landholdings and kingdoms, the attitudes towards religion, towards homosexuality, towards illegitimacy; a time when hunting birds are more valuable than human life. All these aspects of medieval times become grist for the mill.
When William despaired I could see the reasons, but some of the happenings seemed a tad too unreal or too rushed. Maybe he grew up too quickly, maybe he is trapped more than I would like to think by the constraints of his time. I enjoyed the book and it certainly it held my attention, even when William was less compassionate in his human relations than I wanted him to be. He is after all a man of his times who has already pushed those boundaries.
A NetGalley ARC