The year is 1235. Brother Petroc is a novice monk, a scholar studying in the city of Balecester. He hails from Dartmoor, his parents having given him to the monastry at Buckfast, in Devon, because he showed academic promise. Petroc's life is one of scholarly pursuit, heavy drinking and trying to avoid the sins of the flesh until, one night, he encounters Sir Hugh de Kervezey at an inn. Petroc immediately senses the man is trouble and is tragically proved right when, a few nights later, Sir Hugh tricks him into a taking a holy relic from the cathedral. Right in front of his eyes, Kervezey brutally murders a church official and promptly frames Petroc for the murder.
Petroc goes on the run, back to Buckfast Abbey, but he is not even safe there as Sir Hugh is there ahead of him, victimising Petroc's friend and mentor, Brother Adric, to get information about the young novice. Adric sends Petroc to Dartmouth to meet with a ship to take him out of the country. The journey is long and arduous, with Sir Hugh's men close on his heels, but he eventually meets up with the enigmatic Captain de Montalhac, a Frenchman and collector of relics. Petroc sets sail on the Cormaran and thus begins a series of adventures in countries such as Greenland, Ireland, France and Greece that will change the course of Petroc's young life.
Even though I didn't mean to start yet another series I'm actually quite glad that this book turned out to be the first part of one because I rather enjoyed it. I've always quite liked any historical book that took me on a trip around Europe, or out on the high seas, and this one covers both of those so it's a 'win, win' situation really. Pip Vaughan-Hughes writes in a bit of a swash-buckling style, the story is really a bit of a boys-own yarn with lots of chases and fighting and adventures galore. There's also some romance and misunderstandings therein... to be honest there's something for everyone and if you fancy a light, fun read you could do a lot worse than Relics. I certainly plan to grab book 2 from the library at some stage.
And having enjoyed this 'high-seas' story I'm now thinking of making a sea-faring list of books - pirates, sea voyages, fantasy, historical, anything really, so if anyone can think of any, feel free to leave a comment.
This was book 23 out of 25 for my library challenge. Almost there!