Review: The Abbey of Death – Steven A.McKay

5 of 5 stars

Series: The Forest Lord

My version: Kindle, eBook

Historical Fiction Medieval
Amazon Publishing
Supplied by the author

Will Scaflock wants only to live in peace. He had more than his share of adventure when he went by the name Will Scarlet and fought corrupt authority alongside Robin Hood. Now widowed and alone, and estranged from his adult daughter, he has taken holy orders and sought refuge in a remote Benedictine abbey.

But even there, trouble and violence follow him. The abbot, John de Wystow, is a good man but a weak leader, and easily undermined by a faction of dissident monks. When the rebels, led by Brother Robert de Flexburgh, run riot in the local community—stealing, drinking, fornicating—Scaflock’s old instincts return. Reluctantly taking charge of the abbey’s moral defence, he finds himself embroiled in a series of fierce clashes with de Flexburgh’s rowdy gang.

As the abbey’s tranquillity is shattered, its cloisters stained with blood, Scaflock is forced to reconsider the direction of his life. Has he really left Will Scarlet behind him—or has he simply been running from reality?

Much as I’m loath to admit it*, this book is bloody superb!

If only for the look at a former man of war trying to lead a quiet life and being dragged back into it all again – but not giving a fuck as long as he does what is right. You’ll like Will Scaflock. The importance of the feeling of family has – for me – pervaded all the Forest Lord series so far, and this takes it to its logical, poignant conclusion. Oh, that it could have been longer!

There’s a wonderful feeling of maturity to the writing now, but without losing the refreshing youthful energy, vigour and hint of open-eyed innocence. Doesn’t that describe ‘joy’? I think it does. His improvement as a writer continued through the Forest Lord series (I have yet to read book four, but I can’t believe for a moment it doesn’t continue the trend) and even picking up pace.

His next one had better be a proper length, ’cause this stunningly good but all too short!

You can buy The Abbey of Death on Amazon

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*Not really. Maybe…no! Possibly. NO!

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