The Owl Killers

The Owl Killers

A Novel

Book - 2009
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England, 1321. The tiny village of Ulewic teeters between survival and destruction, faith and doubt, God and demons. Shadowing the villagers' lives are men cloaked in masks and secrecy, ruling with violence, intimidation, and terrifying fiery rites: the Owl Masters. When the daughter of Ulewic's most powerful man is accepted into a beguinage, battle lines are drawn.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385341707
Characteristics: xv, 509 p. ; 25 cm


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Aug 20, 2015

I started reading this book while doing my laundry, thinking I'd just read a few pages, and before I knew it, I was halfway through the book.

"The Owl Killers" is set in 1321 in the English village of Ulewik, terrorized by the mysterious "Owl Masters", who are a lot like the Ku Klux Klan, only they leave dead owls on their enemies' doorsteps instead of flaming crosses. There's only one challenge to their power; a group of women who are forming a beguine (a religious order a step below nunneries, where outcast women banded together to care for orphan children, religious purposes and service to the community.) The Owl Masters and the Beguines clash again and again, and only one order can survive.

This is an exciting medieval thriller that should appeal to fans of Ken Follet's "World Without End" and Arianne Franklin's "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, as well as fans of "The Wicker Man" (the classic British version, not the horrendously bad Hollywood remake.) Some of the more violent scenes may upset sensitive or conservative readers. Watch out for dead owls on your doorstep!

Mar 23, 2014

Interesting fictional account of a beguine order in England facing the ignorance of villagers. Women alone were viewed as unnatural and dangerous. When religion, poverty and superstition combine it is an explosive combination.

Jul 22, 2010

Not something that you can't put down. A bit contrived. Not likely to read this author again.

Nov 27, 2009

An odd book. I ordered it because I enjoyed her previous one, A Company of Liars. This one kept me reading -- she is a good writer -- but found it somewhat unsatisfying.
Some historical fiction gives the reader the feeling of "history coming alive" -- that one has some insight into what life was like at that time. This book describes such an idiosyncratic community that I never had that feeling; I also felt that the characters' motivations were fairly opaque (and most of the characters themselves were unappealing.)


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