Genre: historical novel
First chapter, first paragraph:
...and see your face on the roof of the friary. Sometimes you would cast your eye down at us and we would scatter. More often, the face would disappear as if it had never been there at all, as if you were something we had conjured to frighten ourselves with. He was a prisoner, it was said, convicted of monstrous crimes. He was mad, he fed on the flesh of children, he wiped his mouth with his beard after he had done feasting. He was in league with the Devil, he was the Devil, performing unnatural investigations. Sometimes we would hear inexplicable thunder from the tower, a few claimed to have seen lightning on clear sunny days. Once, I myself,grazing my father's goats, I was touched by a rainbow, slowly turning, painting the field with brief marvellous colour.
As I got older, I would go there less often. The grass grew higher by that part of the Franciscans' wall. Strange flowers bloomed. Animals refused to graze there.This novel is described as "...recounting the journey taken from Oxford to Viterbo in 1267 by John and his two companions, at the behest of the friar and magus Roger Bacon, carrying a secret burden to His Holiness Clement IV."
What do you think: Would you read on?