I am absolutely in love with the world that Walsh has created here. She takes real history from 1347-48, uses meticulous research, and then adds in fantasy elements. The main character is William, who is a servant boy at an abbey. But he has special powers that draw dark magic to him -- even though he is himself a good person. The books contain evil fay, hobgoblins, a king of the forest, a witch, an angel, and a demon. Oh, and a pig with more personality than some people I know.
These are books of high adventure, with magic and battles and wit. Friendship and loyalty are underscored here. If you're looking for romance, these are NOT the books; these are YA books that are actually written for teens, not for adults. (Of course, this particular adult enjoyed them very much.)
Carson is also trained as an archeologist. How cool is that? Here's what she says about herself:
When I was nine, I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist. I’d come across the word in a book about dinosaurs and was thrilled to realise you could actually dig up dinosaurs and get paid for it. I abandoned the dinosaurs when I discovered Vikings, and I’ve never looked back. I spent summers and school holidays working on digs, took an archaeology degree and spent most of my life since then working as an archaeologist. However, I’ve always been a writer. My first book, written when I was twelve, was an epic tale of a Viking raid on a small island off the coast of Ireland. Stories of ghosts, hobgoblins, more Vikings and High Fantasy followed. I’ve had short stories and a short supernatural novel published, and my first novel for children, The Crowfield Curse, was published by The Chicken House in the UK on January 4th, 2010. The second book in the series, The Crowfield Demon, was published on April 4th 2011.
Have a junior high school student in need of a good book? Maybe you should introduce her/him to Pat Walsh and the Crowfield series. And maybe you should read it yourself. :)