From the best-selling author of Lemprière's Dictionary, Lawrence Norfolk is back with an astounding novel of 17th-century life, love and war; the story of an orphan who becomes the greatest cook of his age.
The village of Buckland, 1625. A boy and his mother run for their lives. Behind them a mob chants of witchcraft. Taking refuge among the trees of Buccla's Wood, the mother opens her book and tells her son of an ancient Feast kept in secret down the generations. But as exquisite dishes rise from the page, the ground beneath them freezes. That winter, the boy's mother dies. Taken to Buckland Manor, John is put to work in the house's vast subterranean kitchens where his talent raises him from the scullery to the great house above.
A complex dish served to King Charles brings him before Lady Lucretia Fremantle, the headstrong daughter of the house. He must tempt her from her fast. But both encounters will imperil him....
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Interesting, but not compelling listening
A good read - with perhaps a bit too much food?
Engaging. Sumptuous. Slow.
I liked the sections where the story advanced, and where the historical setting was brought to life.
The early days in the house and kitchen were most interesting
It might not be a surprise - but there's an awful lot of food in this book. I confess to skimming a lot of the descriptions, as they just seemed to hold up the plot.