A Bridge to the Sky

Margaret Ball, Author Domain $4.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-28137-8
Ball's ( My Brazen Heart as Kathleen Fraser) absorbing novel about Stephen of Dunwich, a 13th-century architect, offers a richly textured historical setting as well as a protagonist whose passion for building and profound ambivalence toward the Church give the book its momentum. In an English convent, Stephen is being raised for monkhood. When the convent is overrun by soldiers during the baronial wars, the boy manages to escape. He becomes a builder's apprentice, working his way up to journeyman, but, impressed into architectural service, is brought back to Ely--where he is recognized and imprisoned by the brutal monk he had fled. Escaping once again, Stephen travels to Jerusalem, where he is seized by an Egyptian nobleman and taken to Cairo; the young builder saves his own life and the lives of his companions by becoming his captor's architect. Gaining in skill and repute, Stephen returns to Europe, first to work in France and then to erect a cathedral in Hungary--directly in the path of marauding Tartars. Despite its strengths, this tale is fraught with disasters and coincidences, and secondary characters, including Stephen's wife, are mere token presences. ( July )
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
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