Mightier than the Sword
by Ashe Barker
Ashe Barker consistently writes books that are unique, and “Mightier than the Sword” is very much an unusual story. When I saw the blurb for the story, I was immediately intrigued by a tale set around the momentous creation of the Magna Carta. One of my ancestors was among the 25 barons who actually signed the document, and the era and circumstances around the creation and signing of the document have always interested me. I was curious to see how see author would treat the complex factual story around the fictional story.
Jocelyn is a young woman raised very unconventionally for the time in which she lives. Not only is she literate, which itself was a rarity for anyone, she is also very highly educated. As such, she has to disguise herself as a young man of the cloth who labors as a scribe within the walls of the religious order in which she lives. When she and her talent as a scribe are pulled into the dangerous political dynamics of the time, even her life is at stake. Sir Richard is a man of honor who wants to do the right thing, and is the captain at arms for a nobleman trusted by both the King and the barons. The intentions of the cruel King and the demands of his own conscience (and the nobleman who he serves) do not mesh well together. Richard’s assignment with regard to “Brother” Jocelyn puts those parts of his personality in stark conflict. Add to the mix his attraction to the religious man who turns out to be an unusual woman, and the intense circumstances surrounding King John and the Magna Carta, and it’s all very ripe for drama.
There is a little bit of intense passion in the story, and some moments of humor. There are some twists and turns, and a surprise at the end of that may cause you to reach for a tissue or two. I thought the main and secondary characters in the book were interesting and well-developed. The story was entertaining and well-written, and it definitely held my interest throughout.