Set in 12th century England, the book describes the rise of a Saxon peasant to become, as the title tells us, a priest and sheriff. I have to question whether in the period of the book, starting in 1143 almost 80 years after the Conquest, there was still such a division between Normans and Saxons that the latter were looked upon as second class citizens. I would think they were integrated by then. I also wonder how Wimer, a peasant who worked on the family farm, learned to speak a little French, read, do math, and recite the Lord’s Prayer – not bad for a nine-year-old.
There, that’s the criticism out of the way. If you can suspend your disbelief past this point, it is a good story, and Wimer who did exist is a likeable character, modest and devout, although far more suited to his role as priest than sheriff.
I would urge the reader to read the notes at the end of the book to learn the fascinating details of the story and Ms Moxey’s amazing and often successful pursuit of ancient artefacts.
I have a particular aversion to books that do not tell the full story but leave the reader with a cliff-hanger. This book, however, does have a cliff-hanger of which I fully approve. In the author’s notes we learn there will be a second book that relates how and why the priory founded by Wimer was moved, lock, stock, and barrel, to another location. So intriguing.