Place of Repose: St Cuthbert’s Last Journey


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Book Details

Rating: ★★★★

Format: Paperback (196 pages)

Publisher: Sacristy Press

Date of Publication:

ISBN: 978-1-78959-078-4

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The year is AD 875, and the Danish King of York, Halfden Ragnarsson, is carrying fire and sword across Northumbria, burning churches and monasteries and killing their inhabitants. The monks of Lindisfarne have to flee, taking with them the Lindisfarne Gospels and Saint Cuthbert's relics. For seven years they journey seeking to find a new home for the saint, a journey that changes the lives of those who bear him for ever.

Place of Repose is a tale of violence and intrigue, revenge and reconciliation—​and of true love lost and found. This extraordinary story, told by novelist Kathy Tiernan, combines with the skilful and engaging recreation of characters and relationships at this fateful moment in the survival of Northumbria. Always in the background is the mysterious presence of the Saint, as the threads of destiny that will bind Dane and Saxon, heathen and Christian begin​ to weave together.

Katharine Tiernan’s prose is as clear-minded and unpretentious as it is beguiling. She is intensely immersed in her story and its location and captures a sense of time and place in an unpretentious and engaging style. The vision of that wet, damp mizzle and the sensation of chill winds contrasting with the rare bliss of roaring fires, makes blanched skin tingle. During the course of this epic undertaking, we explore the characteristics of those most closely involved in it and whose lives evolve within its complications and are inevitably changed by them.

It is a delightful and attractively produced publication.

Julia Stoneham, The Historical Novels Review

The story is a present-tense narrative, and unrolls like a film. It’s finely imagined. Lapwings sing, timbers crack, and there is a terrifying shipwreck. The saint is always present, directing events through dreams and miracles.

Fiona Hook, Church Times

Katharine Tiernan is a Northumbrian by birth and spent many childhood afternoons on the shores of Lindisfarne. She studied English Literature at York University and worked as a teacher and community artist. By the turn of the millennium, both Katharine and her Australian husband were hankering for the wide-open spaces of the north and moved back to Northumberland. Place of Repose is her second novel set in the Anglo-Saxon world of early Christianity. It reflects her interests in literature, spirituality and the inspirational landscapes of the north.

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