The Devil's Monk : Guardian of the Book
Lovereading Price £14.95
Why I wrote this book
After a life of travel, commerce and writing in Europe, India and England, this is J.R. Russell's first novel. It averts to the author's early experiences in the English countryside and of English history and the study of nature, folklore and religion. A particular interest in early books led to Bald's Leechbook and opened up a garden of herbs and their properties. J.R. Russell now lives in semi-retirement in the country and writes with the earnest wish to preserve these forgotten treasures through the ancient craft of story-telling.
Bald’s Book of Leechdoms, Wortcunning and Starcraft was written in the ninth century. It was a compendium of the prescriptions, potions, nostrums, incantations and astrological predictions collected over a lifetime by Cild, his father, a travelling leech. It dealt with most common conditions in the most common way then, with worts we now call herbs, but with knowledge we have since lost of when to collect them and how to apply them. In a thousand years, the names and natures of these herbs may well have changed. The original Book was lost in a fire, and the original words may have lost or changed their meanings. Bald knew what he was doing, and if he did not, there was no one alive to tell him. We do not know at all. Every wort, every medicine today, is both a cure and a killer. There is danger in ignorance, and folly in emulation. Do not, I beg you, try to be a leech, or take anything from the book beyond wonder and amusement. To use a phrase every child will understand: “Don’t try this at home”!
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1st September 2012