The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage by Howard of Warwick - double feature!

Many thanks to the publisher, The Funny Book Company, and Net Galley for sending my these two books in exchange for honest reviews.

I had heard the name Howard of Warwick before, but I had no idea what kind of books he wrote, or even if he was still alive. When these two books came available on NetGalley, I thought I would have a little...investigation.

The Heretics of De'Ath

This is the first book in the Chronicles of Brother Hermitage series, and it showed early on. The writing style seemed a little naive in places and I didn't fully connect with the main character, Hermitage...however, that quickly changed. How to describe him? Think of Baldrick from multiply the stupidity by 100 and you might get close! And the story seems to run in a similar way too. It is so farcical, I loved it!

The story follows Brother Hermitage as he is suspected of murdering a fellow monk in the monastery of De'Ath's Dingle...what a wonderful name that it! If only it were a real place! After an adventurous trip to Lincoln, the nearest city, which takes him 2 days, he returns to his monastery with the King's Investigator (another stupid man called Simon), and Wat the Weaver who is a weaver of, quite simply, 11th Century pornography to try to solve the mystery and save his own neck!

The characters are great fun and grow on you very quickly, the humour is outrageous in places ("as happy as a cardinal in a convent" springs to mind!), and the plot easy to follow if a bit loopy. If you are looking for some good laughs and are not worried about the plot too much, this could be the book for you!

Star rating:4 from 5

Hermitage, Wat and some Druids

This book is the 5th book in the Brother Hermitage series and follows the main heroes of the first book as they are sent on a mission by King William I to find one of his envoys to Wales and his murderers ..oh, and to bring back all the gold the druids have. Meanwhile, the druids are preparing to build a new stone circle and are looking for some very specific sacrifices...surely Hermitage can't fall for their deceptions...can he?

This was a more enjoyable book as it was better written, and the plot easy to follow. Also, there was a sense of helplessness for throughout the story for Hermitage that might have been overly farcical in the first. There was more development of the characters, although more of it happened in books 2-4, which, according to several footnotes, are available from all good bookshops. I would be intrigued to read those later, but I am in no rush. For now, this was a pleasant, light double act to read.

Star rating: 4.5 from 5