[I didn't intend to be gone this long. I hope someone is still out there!]
Its been years since I’ve taken much time to read novels. I’m embarrassed to say how few I’ve read in the last couple years, but the Bone Thief finally was a temptation too great. How could I resist a novel about the theft/transfer of St Oswald’s bones from Bardney to Gloucester?
VM Whitworth‘s The Bone Thief did not disappoint. Readers of this blog will know that Oswald’s relics were enshrined at St Oswald’s Minster in Gloucester, so I don’t want to give away anything else. Not surprisingly it follows a quest tale type but it’s not a very typical quest. He doesn’t have to go very far, but Whitworth finds plenty of obstacles and surprises to keep the tension. She nails the shifting loyalties and tensions of the time perfectly and managed to place Oswald’s relics centrally in West Saxon – Mercian politics without cheapening their spiritual importance. I loved the way she treated St Oswald throughout the book (and what a nice little surprise at the end!). I highly recommend the Bone Thief.
For a glimpse into Lady Ætehlfled’s Mercia, here is a previous post on their defense of Chester.