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Thursday, September 29, 2016

From " Abandoned " son to Benedictine monk with a Heady Destiny(Promise of the Black Monks by Robert E, Hirsch

An in-depth look at the turmoil of 11th century Europe and the hold that the Catholic Church had on politics and religion throughout the region. Though the main thread focuses on the tug of war between Pope Gregory in Rome and King Heinrich in Germany, with excommunication and realignment taking place over and over again, there is the subplot of a noblewoman, Asta, used as pawn in France and England following the Norman Conquest at Hastings. It is through the eyes of her sons, " abandoned " by her to the monastery of the Benedictine monks of Cluny that we see the unfolding of Saxon-Norman-Dane relations and the alliances of Italian nobles with Muslims of North Africa and Turkey. We watch Tristan, the elder son, grow to a man of eighteen--a child prodigy who becomes the " Promise " of the title and Guillaume, the younger, less intellectual but fiercer soldier take on the armor of a Christian soldier in the service of Matilda. As they grow up, so too do the mechanizations of the forces both secular and spiritual grow ----rifts are forming in the Church and tension is building between Christian and Muslim worlds. Though much change happens in the world during their childhoods, it is evident that much greater change is in store for the place that is Europe, the Church that rules it and the men and women who are taking their places as leaders now that they are young adults. I received a copy of this book from Book Movement in exchange for an unbiased review.

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