cover image The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt

Elizabeth Chadwick. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (370pp) ISBN 978-0-312-06491-4

Winner of the 1990 Betty Trask Award, this engaging historical romance takes place on the feudal domains of Norman lords occupying Wales during the reign of king William Rufus. A marriage of political expediency unites 15-year-old Lady Judith of Ravenstow and Guy FitzMiles, lord of Ledworth. Judith has been traumatized by a brutal father and is terrified of men. Guyon, a decade older, is a handsome and powerful Norman nobleman, well versed in the arts of love and of war. A compassionate man, he is so moved by the terror of his child bride that he refrains from sex on their wedding night. The novel follows parallel lines: the personal history of Judith and Guyon, and the history of 12th-century feudal England. Along with Guyon's tender wooing of Judith, her coming-of-age and the final consummation of their marriage, there are border skirmishes, Welsh raids, full-scale battles, murderous schemes and dreams of power. The daily life of the occupied Welsh and the occupying Normans is described in extensive detail. Chadwick's first novel is typical of the genre, with many dark deeds afoot and many dark secrets to be unveiled before Judith and Guyon, now passionate lovers, triumph over their evil enemies. (Oct.)