ONLINE READ Dance of Stone – and–rey.us
Jay Lewis Taylor ☆ 0 charactersSpoken tentative level headed fair emotionally stunted I love Hugh the master mason and likewise appreciate and adore the many vividly memorable secondary characters Arnaut Godric Alexander Medicus Osmund Rochilda Esther Richard even NicholasThis is a tale of a good man trying to redeem himself from his past mistakes and failures hoping to find safety and love and courageously making beautiful stone structures amidst a backdrop of political ncertainty and nrest religious game playing and avarice at a time when the lives and fate of common folk rest in the hands of kings barons and churchmen Thank you Mr Taylor for a wonderful read I look forward to of your writing And yet another excellent release from Manifold Press 425 stars from me for this historical work of fiction with a gay twist This reminded me so much of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett which still remains one of my fave stories to this day I felt for poor Hugh of Barhamthere are several Hughs in this read obviously a popular name in the 12th century it can t have been good to have made enemies in the church despite their supposed pious and righteous nature I have to say I do like Jay Lewis Taylor s work Not sure how many of his stories are available but I still do have The Peacock s Eye to read Saint Andrew s Cathedral Wells Somerset England John Simlett 2012Merveilleux What a fabulous tale and what a great storytellerThe Middle Ages is one of my favorite eras and as long as I can remember Gothic architecture has always fascinated me so I was bound to read Dance of StoneThis novel is a wonderful invitation to discover an outstanding cast of vibrant characters flawed and complex in other words all too human Their way of life is in line with nature and the seasons and we re able to share their everyday lives year after year but also to experience their joy and their suffering their love and their sorrow their despair as well as their hopeThese are troubled times where ncertain allegiances make life difficult where scheming isn t A Full House unusual and where greed and pettiness are dangerousI simply fell irrevocably in love with Hugh and I found myselfite fond of Arnaut and so many of the other major and even minor characters By the end you know them intimatelyThe author has done a fantastic job here seamlessly weaving their story into the history of that time His se of language is brilliant and his writing style a joy to readJay Lewis Taylor says in his bio that he s a thwarted medievalist with a strong arts background well it showsI can t recommend Dance of Stone enough Caveat I had the privilege of editing this book on behalf of Manifold Press so that may make me biased On the other hand as anyone with editing proofing or betaing experience would know if you can still whole heartedly love a book after working through 98k words of it again and again then surely that means something goodThis is a terrific story fully immersed in the medieval world It is chock full of detail about how it must have been to live back then and yet the details never detract from the story which forges steadily on Indeed the details serve only to bring to vivid life the characters and their worldYou will know Hugh mason inside and out by the time you re done At times you will know him better than he does himself The elements of his life assemble themselves around him at an early point but he doesn t always realise their true significance and he has a long road to travel before he does I loved him for being a good man at heart and stubborn too Stubborn isn t always attractive here it isHugh is joined by a truly lovely range of characters each brought to three dimensional life by "jay s masterly story telling they all "s masterly story telling They are all vivid as Johanna red hair as fascinating as Arnaut s tales and songs as real as Godric s heartfelt faithHugh is a
stone mason andmason and often nsung task and vocation is to build cathedrals Even these days that would take years back then it took decades I loved how Jay took a cue from that steady pace in telling the story It never feels slow there is always progress But the stately dance of stone is measured throughout yearsAn excellent book in short Recommended for anyone who enjoys historical fiction and for anyone else who d like to try it at its best Rich in historical detail this story will immerse you in medieval England Spanning about 10 years in the late 12th century this story follows the life of master mason Hugh de Barham against a backdrop of church politics On the personal side there are two love interests Godric and Arnaut Although there are a few truly nasty characters I like that most of the characters are not so black and white As with Mr Taylor s other work I would say that this is historical fiction first with the romance being secondary If you like historical fiction set in the medieval period definitely give this one a try eer historical rather than romance as such though there is a strong central romantic element that rom readers will love Great on the details of daily life in the medieval period and on stonemasonry and politics Particularly good on the amount of travelling people did and the mixing with other cultures and the sense of 12th century Britain as a total backwater Strong likeable hero although there is a rather ncomfortable element of his pining for an adolescent boy which may strike modern readers as offputting you need not pull out don t worry the eventual romance is a very satisfying one of euals A wide sweeping historical epic that will take you back to the days of stone masons cathedral builders religion and church politics This book is not for the faint hearted beautifully written full of historical details spans several years as we follow the life of HughHugh de Barham is Master Mason at Wells Cathedral and if anyone has ever visited Wells or any other European cathedral it is truly astounding what they managed to build in this day and age with no modern technology to help them Hugh is struggling with his sexuality or I should say he knows exactly what he is and prefers but in this time not a good idea to advertise the fact Hugh is travelling to Wells and on his travels meets Arnaut l Occitan a secretive stranger and is obviously very interested in Hugh but Hugh s affections are for someone else Godric who was his guide to Glastonbury and now lives with Hugh as his servant Hugh is attracted to Godric and doesn t see the affections from Arnaut so we have your typical case of not seeing what is right The Midwifes Glass Slipper / Best for the Baby under your nose Arnaut tries to win Hugh over but it is a long way and tough fightntil Hugh eventually sees that his affections for Godric are completely lost and is wasting his time Once he lets Arnaut in then a romance develops that is loving and caring as much as it is frustrating and annoying Arnaut is most definitely the experienced sexually and with patience and time shows Hugh all the affection he needs to be able to let go and fall in love The emotions being played out by the characters for me felt real and realistic for the time not we ll ever know for sure but I definitely felt their As the two vie for supremacy a path made dangerous still by the fact that Hugh if he could would share his bed not with women but with menThe only way to stay safe is to keep his head. Jay Lewis Taylor s Dance of Stone is a powerful fascinating and beautifully crafted historical novel focused on nine years in the life of Hugh de Barham a master mason who wants only to build great churches The date is 1192 during the Reign of Richard Lionheart and all over Christendom ambitious bishops are imagining fantastic structures to be built to the Glory of God and as testaments to their own earthly influence Hugh finds himself caught A Natural Father up in the power plays of these men and struggles to hold onto his integrity and his livelihood Some ofs know Ken Follett s Pillars of the Earth an epic novel set in medieval England during the building of a great cathedral It is a book that captivated my generation s imagination and was so well respected that it was A Doctors Vow used in medieval history courses Dance of Stone is every bit as fine as Pillars of the Earth and while physically a smaller novel with an intentionally smaller focus it embraces the same heroic moment Taylor s closely studied narrative offerss vividly painted portraits that take Jonathan Swift us into the heart of life in a medieval English cathedral town But Taylor takess somewhere else Hugh de Barham is a man attracted to men and therein lies all the difference in the world The romance novel was born in the Middle Ages although its early form was nothing like what we know today Indeed the word for novel in French is roman or romance I was a French major in Shotgun Bride university Taylor s Hugh is an amazing character created to gives insight into different aspects of life in post Conuest medieval England He is an artisan yet of gentle birth and mixed blood as were many skilled craftsmen in this time He has studied at The Long Road Home university in Paris and thus has insight both into the language of both cloister and court Latin and French as well as annderstanding of courtly behavior Hugh has no ambition other than to build churches but he can converse with bishops and peasants with eual comfort giving him a social fluidity The Sweetest Burn (Broken Destiny, uniue to his place in this world And Hugh is also familiar with the courtly literary traditions and values of his time He knows what it is to feel love but also what it is to be a man Within the framework of vast partly built cathedrals all based on actual places which I spent a lot of time Googling as I read Hugh is a man who falls in love who yearns for love and who resists love all based on his ownnderstanding of who he a moral outlaw surrounded by holy men who are all too often both The Greek Tycoons Revenge ungodly and cruel As a cultural historian by profession I always approach historical novels with skepticism but Taylor is brilliant in his depiction of everyday life among everyday people He givess lots of rich detail yet does so in a way that it neither pedantic nor heavy handed Taylor makes clear the complex social interactions that someone like Hugh would experience every day and through these interactions helps s nderstand just what an exceptional and good man Hugh is The love interests in this book are wonderfully apt appealing to a modern reader and yet completely in tune with the medieval notion of love There is the beautiful young Godric adolescent son of Rochilda a widowed peasant woman who becomes Hugh s housekeeper Hugh forms a distant intensely emotional attachment for this young man as he grows The Queens Choice up training him as a stonecutter waiting for the day that he can declare his love On the other hand is Arnaut harper note the lower case in a world where surnames were just being formulated a troubadour of mysterious ancestry who roams the medieval world offering entertainment and carrying news from place to place Arnaut is Hugh s age and shares his inclinations Indeed Arnaut loves Hugh from the very beginning but Hugh caughtp in his own notions of manliness and romance keeps Arnaut at arm s length The description of the churches themselves while only peripheral to the narrative perfectly captures the spiritual aspect that drove pre technological humans to build such impossible structures The discussion of stone and vaults and tracery as physical expressions of God s power illuminates the intensity of spiritual
yearning that drove modest men like Hugh to attempt the impossible eventhat drove modest men like Hugh to attempt the impossible even it drove ambitious men to the boundaries of morality for the sake of temporal achievementHaving spent most of my life reading novels by straight people writing about straight people it is hard to describe the pleasure in finding a book that does what Taylor has managed to do and to do with such great literacy and scholarship It acknowledges an historical truth that has been largely ignored and offers a plausible vision of a human story long buried nder ignorance and prejudice This book gave me the same intense pleasure derived from historical sagas by Michener James A and Edward Rutherford and Dance Of Stone shares many
*dramatic elements with Ken Follett s The Pillars of the Earth It will appeal to anyone who loves medieval historicalsHugh de *elements with Ken Follett s The Pillars of the Earth It will appeal to anyone who loves medieval historicalsHugh de aka Hugh Mason is ambitious he s got the artisan skills the hard won training the good eye and inspired vision to bring splendid architectural splendour from masonry The book draws a strong character growth arc for Hugh starting from a bold move to take over as head mason of a cathedral rebuilding at the town of Wells He leaves his landlord lover with some regret but is driven by his opportunity to make his name and mark in the worldThe first half of the book is focused on Hugh s establishing his credentials and leadership as head mason with his team of workers labourers and craftsmen A strong line p of characters are given life by the author head foreman housekeeper boy apprentice church Dean conniving steward powerful churchmen local baronetcy even English royalty this is the time of the crusader King Richard the Lionheart and his brother John the LandlessAmidst the struggle to find To Defy a Sheikh uality stone and juggling the finances to pay his workers Hugh battles his inner demons haunted in his dreams and waking hours by tragic deaths and murder which he was helpless to prevent Our hero is well aware of his desire to give and receive love from his own gender seeminglyite resolved emotionally and theologically about being a sodomite no great big coming out angst here folks He does get romantically torn between two men the object of his affection an archetypal Galahad figure and a feisty sexy foreigner who pursues Hugh single mindedlyThe story also provides much talk and discussion on the se of stone the "technical detail and terminology associated with cathedral building is extensive and intriguing Contrasted "detail and terminology associated with cathedral building is extensive and intriguing Contrasted these are some lovely passages describing the iet life and simple joys of daily living Drama tension and danger elements are brought into play when Hugh gets himself foolishly and nwittingly entangled within the power plays of church leadership canons arch deacons bishops deans etc The second half of the book deals with the fallout and aftermath of Hugh s impetuous act and the conseuences of having fallen foul of powerful men The author gives readers a wonderfully complex main character in Hugh driven fearful guilt ridden brave out. Late twelfth century England a country of divided loyalties while the Lionheart is on crusade Hugh de Barham master mason at Wells walks a dangerous path between Glastonbury and Wells. Ehaviour and attitudes for this time were plausible which is a sign for me of a good historical romanceThis is definitely one for hard core historical readers the detail and attention historically is breath taking and I could feel as if I were back at Wells Cathedral during the days it was being built I could imagine the lofty towers and heights of the vaults the dangers of working on such constructions in this time at such lofty heights I was getting vertigo while reading It was really like being in a time capsule Of course at this time all the political intrigue is there between rival deans and bishops all trying to out do each other One minute dishing out their blessings and goodwill and the minute your back is turned stabbing it to further themselves In all of this Hugh remains true to himself and others but it s exactly not keeping his head down and speaking p for what he believes staying true to himself that gets him into lot of trouble and has to flee to Lincoln Caught The Princes Ultimate Deception (Monte Carlo Affairs, up in a political cross fireThis is where for me as beautifully written as this book is I just felt the plot was a little confused at times or maybe it was just me and the old grey cells It seemed to meander a long time without going anywhere or having any one focal point climax in the plot to keep the orientation of the reader It was for me a little directionless plot wise at timesntil it got to about 70% then it started to come to some kind of final conclusion There were many times I was left with a huh How did we just arrive here from where we were before feeling This is first and foremost an historical novel in my opinion and an MM romance second so I wasn t expecting HEAs and soppy sighs at the end nor a fluffy read So therefore it hit the spot and was exactly what I was looking for in this type of read This book is challenging and did keep me interested for sure I just had the feeling it was trying to be a wide sweeping historical epic of a novel but just didn t Breaking the Governesss Rules uite make the mark for me on this particular pointAfter all is said and done this book is a real joy for all historical fans who wish to sink their teeth into something a little meatier leaving the fluff behind for a while and immersing themselves into a past as dangerous as it is intriguing A mediaeval historical novel that givess an insight into the life and times of the great Cathedral Builders35 Stars rounded The Christmas Children (The Mellow Years up This book is not an MM Romance It s a historical novel with a gay protagonist Hugh a master mason The book follows him for about 8 9 years and is very slowntil the last 5% where a little spark of romance and angst finally happensThere is virtually no sex and no fantasy element present I ve noticed some readers have it on their fantasyparanormal shelvesIf you are a history geek the book is definitely for you If you are looking for a romance or feisty knightselvesbards I suggest you look somewhere elseAs it is I loved the setting I loved the slow pace the politics the casual mentioning of great names and places I was constantly on internet looking things Too Strong to Deny/Savage Awakening/Jack Riordans Baby/His Forbidden Passion up or refreshing my memory It was perfectThe only fault I found was author s tendency to skip through weeks and months I wish it was a little tighter time wise or filled with action to compensate4 stars Full 45 beautiful star reviewage on Prism Book AllianceFrom page one I was able to settle in and get comfy for this read Why is that The writing It has a very relaxed vibe creating a just as relaxed tone and atmosphere no rushing just taking its time in telling me the storyThe characters are mature people with senses of humor filled with warm wry natures Happiness and sarcasm go hand in hand By the middle of chapter three character development was at an obviously high levelSuch vivid descriptions of sound and place helped build that relaxed and well defined atmosphere leading me fully into the world of 12th century England Food could become scarce in a heartbeat No one assumes everyone may have extra or even enough for all seated at the table Often times surnames are still those of the person s profession like John carver or James scribeCan we say history gasm I think sooooo Politics are alive and well enemies are sometimes bullishly obvious and sometimes hidden in dark corners just like those of the church of which Hugh de Barham is leading construction Henry de Soilly who like other men that he had met from Calvados in the past was all sweetness and apple blossom on the surface and tough as Normandy limestonender the skinHugh de Barham or Hugh mason is whose point of view from which this story is told It s his life his struggles and demons his successes and passions He s intelligent feels deeply has a healthy sense of right and wrong but also isn t averse to doing what s necessary to get something doneThere s an interesting mix of confidence and the role of religion and its mysticism as an institution that many of the characters possess Religion is a part of their everyday lives but in of a practical sense instead of all fire and brimstone and corresponding condemnation On the flip side arrest prison and fines were sed to try and keep people in line with the
Teachings Of A Churchof a church was already widespread in its influence even in small villages and townsOne of the greatest things about this book is that even though it takes place than 800 years ago most of what these characters go through the relationships the losses and the joys the need to work and earn a living even with those who make your stomach turn everything is relatable The emotions are the same no matter the century The smooth confident writing style fit this story wonderfullyOh and let me not forget to mention the humor and the napologetic passion Mmm hmm Hugh tipped forward bracing his arms hard against the cold stone Arnaut s kiss was hot and cold together lips chilled by the cold air in the room the mouth warm and inviting withinI mean c mon who hasn t felt that before Who can t feel that now as you read itOh and who is Arnaut you ask Talk about a patient man He s also clever capable and very loyal He seems to possess a bit of his own brand of mysticism Well at least Hugh feels that way and I agree with himThe detail is delicious Complete without being overbearing The descriptions of clothing and not just how it looks but how it feels and of color of household items of stones cool to the touch spring green trees on May Day I relished it all The setting the plot and the characters read like a much accessible and dare I say enjoyable story similar in type to that of Follett s PillarsThe supporting characters are all important filling out the conversations and towns playing their part in "completely immersing me in this bookA couple event felt repetitious but "immersing me in this bookA couple event felt repetitious but also wasn t all that The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey upset to spend time in this bookBeautiful editing of this confident prose and realistic every day characters gave me a wholly satisfying trip back to the time of the Crusades an explosion in the building of churches and significant societal changes in many an arenaThis is fiction at its finest with elements of the family you make the choices somet. Down but building the church of his dreams is no way to do that and then there is Arnaut l’Occitan What does this stranger from Provence want with Hugh And can he or anyone be truste.
Jay Lewis Taylor