The Wounded Hawk, by Sara Douglass

1241474The Wounded Hawk is the sequel to The Nameless Day. Unlike most middle books in a trilogy, this one has its own plot. It doesn’t read like it’s the first half of the last book; it does have an end. This book continues the story of Thomas Neville, former Dominican friar and now secretary to Hal Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). Thomas is still overcoming his training as a Church man and coming to grips with the idea that maybe the way things are aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and that there is a better way of doing things, even if it means rejecting the Catholic church. I can see the Renaissance and humanism starting to develop. And, again, Douglass does a fantastic job of putting you in this medieval world and making it make sense.

In this book, Thomas helps to overthrow Richard II and establish Henry as king. He also realize the truth about the demons and angels, that the demons are the children of the angels and that he (Thomas) has been lied to for most of his quest. He also discovers that not is his wife one of these angel children, but so is Henry. And so was Christ. Remarkably, considering his behavior during the first book, Thomas only broods on this for a little while. Instead, he decides that the angel who started him on his quest was wrong. The problem is that he’s not too sure of the alternative: Henry and his band of brothers introducing science and secularism, new freedoms for the lower class, essentially the beginnings of the best parts of the Renaissance. Of course, I’m all for the science and secularism and sometimes, I really want to smack Thomas around make him see sense.

At least Thomas starts to realize that woman are not cesspits of sin waiting to happen. (Sure, Eve ate the apple first, but Adam decided to have a nibble as well.) One of my favorite parts in the book is when Thomas finally gets his hands on de Worde’s casket (de Worde was Thomas’s predecessor in the whole angels versus demons war), and reads de Worde’s thoughts about women, he is utterly disgusted. Not only that, but he’s ashamed of himself for once having similar thoughts. This whole women as temptress thing was one of the hardest things about the medieval mindset for me to get my head around. Blaming women for being so tempting that men can’t be expected to control themselves strikes me as spiteful and stupid. I’m not a child of the 60s and I was too young (actually not yet born) for women’s lib. But I’ve grown up with the benefits of what women’s lib achieved. In my mind, women should be legally and socially equal to men.

I have started the next book, The Crippled Angel, but I think I need to take a little break. A lot of the beginning of Angel is meant to catch people up. So, I need to forget some plot details before I start again.


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