13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2008
Historical fiction can sometimes be a bit stuffy, being pre-occupied with telling us facts about the historical period rather than getting on with the story. Here the focus is completely on the plot, which unfolds with great speed, keeping you turning the pages in anticipation!
Chiara and Silvano are the two heroes of the story, each reluctantly finding themselves in a strict religious order. I liked the way they were spirited but not rebellious, an admirable quality in teenage heroes! They both recognise the hospitality and generosity of the people around them and do their best to fit in. However, monks start dying with alarming rapidity and soon there is a full-blooded murder hunt under way.
There are many different threads to this story, and it's challenging to keep them all interesting and relevant to the reader, but Mary Hoffman manages this easily. I wondered about halfway through whether the ends would ever tie up, but I shouldn't have worried - everything comes together very neatly and in an extremely satisfying way.
It's a sort of Cadfael/Name of the Rose-type book but without the pontificating that goes with those stories. I was fascinated by the descriptions of various paint dyes and how they were made (both Chiara and Silvano work in Colour Rooms, where they are instructed on these procedures) but the detail never distracted me from the main plot and my desperation to know whodunit! (and I didn't guess until very near the end, despite several well-placed clues!)
I enjoyed this novel hugely and would urge anyone over the age of 12 (or even 10 if you're a keen reader and not too squeamish!) not to be put off by the historical setting. It's at heart a rollicking murder mystery, and you can't get more exciting than that!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2008
I love Mary Hoffmans stravaganza trilogy and was very interested to see if the falconer's knot would live up to my expectations. It did not dissapoint. From the first page I was completely hooked. The story follows two teenagers who for very different reasons find themselves in a neighbouring monastery and convent. As the two settle into their new lives the story takes a dark twist and an exciting murder mystery develops. As with Hoffmans previous work the characters are well drawn, believable and likeable and the story flows at a rapid pace. The ending is prehaps a bit perfect but everyone likes a happy ending! Read it and not only if you're a teenager it's well worth the time.