Friday, 30 August 2013

Wolf Wood by Mike Dixon

The story starts in 1436 in England. What happened in 1436? The Hundred years war has been raging between England and France, with each making some loses and gains. Young King Henry VI sits on the throne of England and England is gearing for both interesting and dangerous times.

In Sherborne, the people have more pressing concerns. The Abbey is tyrannical and had taken over the parish's Baptismal Font and loses no opportunity to get money from the poor peasants. Harlad Gascoigne is facing a strange case over the paternity of his son William. Harald's wife's relatives are asking her dowry back as they believe that the child is not Harald's . Now Harald has to prove the paternity of his son in a court.

Alice, the matron of the almshouses, has moved recently from Shaftesbury. Alice though had a sheltered life in a covent, is a free thinker who not only knows several languages but also uses the wisdom of several non-christian cultures to heal using herbs and potions. When the Church is a mighty force, it is dangerous to be a free thinker especially one who is very popular and undermines the power of church by baptising dying babies herself and one who dabbles in herbs and potions can easily be burned at the stake as a witch. Will that be the fate of our Alice? How will Harald prove his paternity? How will the dispute over the Baptismal Font end? How do these things affect greater events? What is the role of these players in the greater things?

I couldn't help wondering why the story is set at that particular time, when interesting times are not far off. The War of Roses or the War of the Cousins with its conspiracies and intrigues is definitely a more interesting time, isn't it? Well, this book serves as a prelude to those interesting times.

It takes some time to get absorbed into the story. The dispute over the font is not very clear in the beginning, the difference between the Abbey and All Hallows is not that clear. All Hallows is introduced as a Church-like building, it would have made more sense to me, especially one not very aquainted with various denominations, if it had been explained as the Parish Church, and the Abbey also has a Church, by taking away the Baptismal Font from the Parish Church to its own Church the Abbey is making people pay for Baptism that they normally would not pay. Also the historical setting had not been spelled out clearly in the beginning. We get to know the setting sometime into the story. I did a google search to find out about who was the King and what was happening in England and elsewhere in the beginning. The story would have made more sense to me if the story had a prelude with the historical setting. After the initial bumps the story moves more smoothly and very fast. Alice is an interesting character despite her convent background she is a free thinker and has no hassles about breaking some rules. Interesting Prelude to more interesting times!

Here is the Synopsis provided by the Author with Author Bio


(Some violence, family and political intrigue, quite a lot of romance, some sex but never explicit.)

In 1436 a dispute arose between the people of Sherborne and their abbot over the ownership of a baptismal font. Before it was settled, the abbey was burnt down and a bishop murdered. Some saw the hand of evil at work and blamed a newcomer to the town, accusing her of being a witch. Others saw her as a saint. Wolf Wood is set in the turbulent years of the late middle ages. The old feudal aristocracy is losing control, a new middle class is flexing its muscles, the authority of the church is being questioned, law and order have broken down and England is facing defeat in France. Wolf Wood is a work of fiction based on actual events.

Release date: June 14, 2013
Self published

Part One, IBSN 978-0-9875989-0-5.
Part Two, IBSN 978-0-9875989-1-2. - not part of the Tour

On the author's website:

Amazon pages.
Part One URL
Part Two URL:

Author's bio:

I was born in Sherborne (Dorset) and attended school there and (as an exchange student) in the Medoc region of France. I studied physics at Oxford and received a PhD degree in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. Following teaching and research appointments in South Africa, Scotland and Australia, I joined the Australian Government Service and worked, for a while, as a ministerial assistant. I entered the tourist industry through public relations and scuba diving and established one of Australia's first backpacker resorts. I have a keen interest in medieval history and I am a frequent visitor to Britain and France.

As a boy, growing up in Sherborne, I heard about the famous fire of Sherborne Abbey and was told that a priest shot a flaming arrow into the tower and set the building on fire. The marks of the fire are visible today, over five hundred years later. And there is a lot more to tell us what happened.
There was an inquiry into the dispute that led to the fire and the surviving documents tell of a bitter feud between the abbot and the townspeople. It's highly dramatic stuff and it inspired me to write my Wolf Wood novels.

My books are fiction. Some of the characters are based on real people; others are entirely imaginary. I have done my best to be faithful to the main course of historical events and fill in the gaps with the sort of things that could have happened to my characters.

Here is the rest of the tour

Monday, Aug 26
Tuesday, Aug 27
Review + interview at
Wednesday, Aug 28
Review at I Am, Indeed
Thursday, Aug 29
Review by author Paulita Kincer
Disclaimer: I received an ebook copy from the author and France Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own. 


Anonymous said...

thanks for your honest and very detailed review!

srivalli said...

Thanks Emma for the opportunity and for stopping by!