We have, in The Tide Mill, a fascinating exploration of medieval theology and its conflict with the secular administration. As well, we also have an extremely detailed, and absolutely absorbing, foray into medieval engineering. The design of the mill is described in some detail and I must admit that I had absolutely no idea that medieval engineers were so sophisticated. Herley must have done an incredible amount of research into medieval engineering and construction techniques – or he made it all up and is fooling all of us
We also get into medieval economics and law, how a manor run, the relations of serfs, freemen and nobles, clothing (did you know that a “dreadnought” is not only a battleship but also a piece of English foul weather clothing made of heavy woolen cloth?), etiquette, transportation, and everything else that makes 13th century society run. I found it completely absorbing. The only downside of the book, to an American, is that it takes place at the English seaside, and has, of necessity, a fair amount of description of English littoral plants and animals. To be honest, I had to use my Kindle’s dictionary because I didn’t know 80% of the terms he was using as they are specific to the English environment. I did find this a bit annoying, but I don’t know what else he could have done.
Of course there is a love story, and I don’t like love stories. Suffice it to say that I cried at the end. Also, the social morays surrounding the love interest were quite interesting. Illicit love as treason, punishable by death – I guess things have changed a bit.
All-in-all a rousing good read, and I think it could be made into a fascinating movie. I’ll give Richard a rest for a bit and then go on to his next book. Needless to say, I’m happy that I made a contribution.Google+