Borvo by Denny Bradbury

 I’ve now read Borvo and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really didn’t know what to expect; murder; mystery; suspense; drama; action; deep and meaningful ……. and I was quite surprised that there was a bit of it all. That and being exactly what it said on the tin i.e. what may have happened. Having now read it, I really think it might have!

I love the way you draw the reader into the tale (Chaucer-fashion) by gradually using the language of the time, not just with the names and speech, but in the narrative style – “… discovered the dubious delights of fermented grain” is just lovely. It flows well and the various plot-lines weave well toward several small conclusions before finalising into what could be (is it?) a sequel, e.g. Wilheard being Ayken’s enemy is alluded to twice (chapter 4) in the knife incident and Wilheard’s comment to the King, and I had to hold onto that thread for quite a while before its conclusion, never knowing whether it would end well or no. Now I’m doing it! Also, the occurrence of Borvo’s second summons to the king, for deep discussion, was passed and further events happened before the content of the talk was related to Soefon and of course me.
You had no need to actually describe Borvo in the early chapters as somehow you made me like the lad straight away and I then easily related to him as he fell into the circumstances of the shaping of his life without ever once seeking adventure. The picture developed quite quickly into the sense of honour and responsibility being the norm in their society – how refreshing. The story focused for me on the strength of tradition and yet the respect that was given across the development of beliefs emphasised the bond of community. It was actually quite an important time in history. You achieved this without telling me, and it drew me further into the tale and I’m so glad you didn’t end with a big dramatic conclusion.

Dave Mabey – Hampshire

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