One is One

One is One

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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 628.22g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 27ill.
  • 0192712497
  • 9780192712493

Review Text

A very solitary one, with only a very few, always deeply felt, always tragic attachments. He's Stephen de Beauville, a small, sensitive, intellectually inclined boy in an era (fourteenth century England during the reign of Edward II) when physical prowess was of prime importance. He was the taunted weakling among the Earl of Greavesby's many children and, because he was considered unsuited for knighthood, his destiny was assigned as a monk. Since he was terrified of dogs, a puppy was foisted on him - the dog Amile became his first friend, but Stephen had to kill it (out of kindness) when he was sent to the monastery. He was determined to learn to be a knight and after he ran away from Richley Abbey, it was Sir Pagan Latourelle who took him as his squire and taught him all the necessary skills. Stephen served him devotedly - until he saw Sir Pagan brutally executed. As a knight, his third close friendship was to his own squire Thomas FitzAmory - who died of smallpox. Stephen had proved, even to his own family, his chivalry and his prowess, and with Thomas dead he felt released from any obligations or attachments to his knighthood. His choice was to return to Richley and his original calling making illuminated manuscripts. The underdog can pull a very special attachment, but Stephen seems too austere to succeed. The repetition of deaths has emotional impact - more shock though than grief. Although the book is long, Stephen is never understandable; it is not clear why, as a very subdued boy, he should want to become a knight, what qualities made him a good knight, or why he should opt to emulate the very aloof, dour Brother Ernulf at his most tedious work. Not to be classed with Howard Pyle's Otto of the Silver Hand of which some of this is reminiscent. (Kirkus Reviews)show more