Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight
“The Devil always begins by giving thee work that is just,” Horrocks said. “Then he tells thee, thou dost just work, therefore thou art just. And then he tells thee, thou art just, and therefore any work thou dost is just.”
When Isabel kills the Elf Knight and takes his horse, sword, and horn, she believes that she has done just work. She has broken his enchantment and has rid the twelve kingdoms of a great evil. Horrocks’ advice to lay down the Elf Knight’s tools falls on deaf ears.
But something old is waking in Isabel, something that longs for the gallop and the chase, for bright sun and the rush of wind against the cheek, for glimmering steel and bright blood and the dying of light in the eyes of the slain.
Without the Elf Knight’s sword at her side, Isabel feels lost and terrified, but after almost murdering the man she is supposed to marry, she realizes that either she must put the Elf Knight’s tools aside or exile herself forever. But already it may be too late, for Isabel is losing herself and within her the Elf Maiden grows in strength and fury.
About The Author
G. M. Baker is trying to revive the serious popular novel, the kind of story that finds the truth of the human condition in action, adventure, romance, and even magic. He writes the newsletters, Stories All the Way Down and Why I Am Still Catholic, and is the author of the historical novel The Wistful and the Good and the fairy-tale fantasy Lady Isabel and the Elf Knight.
The great Viking raid on the monastery of Lindisfarne in 793 was the 9-11 of the Anglo-Saxon age. For Elswyth and her sisters in the nearly coastal village of Twyford, it shattered their lives in ways that none of them could have foreseen.
The great Viking raid on Lindisfarne in 793 disrupted the lives and hopes of many people, both English and Norse. Cuthbert’s people traces its impact on the lives of one thegn’s family in the small coastal village of Twyford, a day’s ride south of Lindisfarne. Edith was born a slave but seduced and married a thegn’s son and became lady of the manor. Her ambitions for her daughters go even higher and Elswyth, her eldest, is engaged to the son of an ealdorman and to host kings at her table. But Elswyth, who attracts affection from all who meet her, has a wistful heart, a love of the sea, and a dream of travelling to Spain.
Hilda, the next eldest, is quickly becoming the finest needlewoman in Northumbria. Hilda asks nothing of life but to be left alone with her needle. But when Elswyth’s wistful heart leads her astray, Edith transfers all of her ambitions and her plans to her second daughter.
Meanwhile, Elswyth receives all her wistful heart wished for, but in a way that leads to the bitterest regret. The three women will find themselves tangled in the affairs of kings, abbesses, and Vikings, but Edith’s daughters, each in the own way, will find a way to hold their own.
Mother Wynflaed of Whitby Abbey rules a joint house of monks and nuns, and many layfolk besides. Her office forbids her to have favorites, but when a young woman appears on the doorstep, soaked from the sea and too terrified to speak her name, Wynflaed comes to see her not only as a potential postulant, but as a daughter. She names her Agnes, but before Agnes can become part of the community, Wynflaed must discover her secret.
Though Wynflaed finds it impossible to think ill of Agnes, Agnes herself keeps pulling down one penance after another on her head, as if trying to expiate some grave crime. As some in the abbey begin to fear her, Agnes becomes Wynflaed’s obsession, upsetting the harmony of the abbey, and leading Wynflaed to question her own fitness to rule.
When Eardwulf, the young king of Northumbria, comes to Wynflaed seeking counsel, he too becomes infatuated with Agnes. As Wynflaed begins to unwind Agnes’ secret, she realizes that Agnes is a danger to both the abbey and the king, and plans to send her away. But Eardwulf has other ideas, and Agnes has other admirers.
Coming later in 2022.