Medieval and Music Fiction

As I've researched more into the world of medieval Scotland, my interest in other fiction set in medieval times has grown. I was lucky enough to find Nan Hawthorne's site Medieval Novels which aims to be a comprehensive list of fiction set in medieval times. She has arranged her page in several helpful ways-- by time periods, by genres (mystery, fantasy and time travel, for instance), by region, by historical figures, by new releases. Whatever time, person, or genre interests you, there is a category. I found a wealth of books, new and old, set in all parts of the medieval world; books by well-known authors and books by newer authors.


For a Shelfari group discussion, I did some research into medieval fiction specifically with strong musical themes, settings, or characters. I found very few. In addition to my own novel, which centers on the star member of a modern orchestra, and a harp-playing medieval warrior, there is Rose Tremain's Music and Silence, set in 1600's Denmark. Her central character is the angelic-faced Peter Claire, lutist. It is a fascinating look at the life of a court musician, and King Christian IV of Denmark. If you like the dream-like, wandering style of writing, this book will definitely appeal to you. Although not my favorite style, I did enjoy the book.

There is also Norah Lofts The Lute Player: A Novel of Richard the Lion-Hearted, king of England in the last days of the twelfth century. It focuses on Richard's lute player, Blondel, and his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. I have not read this book, but Norah Lofts is a prolific writer with a strong reputation in the field of historical fiction, and I believe it would be well worth my while to track down a copy (it was published in 1951) and give it a try. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has read it.
There are certainly hundreds, even thousands, of books on either medieval times or musical themes, but finding ones that combine the two seems to be a needle hunt in a haystack. If you, the reader, know of others, please leave a comment.

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