cover image God's Equal

God's Equal

Alain Absire. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $21.95 (247pp) ISBN 978-0-15-136070-3

Set in 11th century Normandy and originally published in France in 1987, this pastiche of medieval storytelling describes the last exploits of Liebaut de Malbray, the much-loved knight to Robert, Duke of Normandy, in the defense of a small town from Frisian pirates. Odilon de Bernay, once Liebaut's squire and now an aging monk writing in his cell, narrates the tale, taking the occasion to profess his love for the knight and confess the jealous betrayal that led to his master's murder. Absire uses this narrative frame to describe life in early medieval France--not only in the court, but the monastery and the village as well. A rare glimpse into the mores of the feudal era, this novel should appeal to fans of The Name of the Rose , who can take comfort in the fact that they won't need a course in Latin to understand the meaning of the story. (June)