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The Love Life of Geoffrey Chaucer - an Editorial Review of "The Storyteller's War"

Book Blurb:

March, 1366. Geoffrey Chaucer, page to King Edward the Third and son of a wine trader, leaves his love Pippa Rouet to travel to Bordeaux, and then Navarre, Rioja and Castile. Here he finds himself in the middle of a ten year-old war between King Pedro the Cruel (or Just), and Enrique Trastámara, his bastard half-brother. A war that is about to boil over. Chaucer seeks the famed Rioja wine for his father’s wine trade, but his true mission as a spy on behalf of King Edward is to find Sir Hugh Calveley, a mercenary fighting for Trastámara, and turn him to Pedro’s cause. Success will aid the ambitions of King Edward’s son the Black Prince, Pedro’s ally.

Most importantly, success will surely mean advancement from page to esquire, and ensuring the hand in marriage of Pippa Rouet.

Failure?…the loss of all he holds dear.

The manuscript is set to be completed in early 2024.

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Author Bio:

Army brat, recovering documentary producer, medieval nerd and writer (both corporate and creative). I live in beautiful Vancouver, BC, Canada and look up to my two sons (who literally look down upon me). I studied literature (and Chaucer) in university where my fascination with Chaucer’s life and writing began. Then, after an abortive year in an MBA I walked across the campus and studied film. I then travelled to London, Sussex and Majorca to shoot a documentary on the British writer Nicholas Mosley (his Whitbread award-winning novel Hopeful Monsters is one of all time favourite novels), started a media company and produced corporate videos and arts documentaries, including Life’s Imprint: Lithographs by Jack Shadbolt (broadcast on CBC and Bravo! and sold across Canada). I have since produced numerous video projects. I’ve had non-fiction pieces published in PhotoLife and the Globe and Mail, written several short stories and screenplays, and writing is central to my thriving corporate communications career. My first memories – of old churches and stained glass windows – are from when I lived in London, England as a boy. I feel like I’m coming home every time I land at Heathrow. And probably one reason why I was drawn to Chaucer in university. I’m nearing completion of Book One of The Storyteller series, The Storyteller’s War, set in London, Bordeaux, Navarre, Aragon, Rioja and Castile. Book Two in the series, The Storyteller’s Reputation, (written first) was a finalist for the Pacific Northwest Writing Conference Historical Novel competition. Book Three, The Storyteller’s Desire, is currently undergoing a re-write.

Editorial Review:

What course of action would you take if you were to choose between love and duty?

The novel “The Storyteller’s War” is historical and adventure fiction written by J.C. Corry. It is rich in themes of love, political and cultural variations. The narrative unfolds in Europe, particularly in Navarre. Corry focuses on the diplomatic affairs between various kingdoms during the 14th century (1356– 1366). Geoffery Chaucer, a sympathetic character, is the protagonist, who is torn between marrying Pippa Rouet and signing to the terms of King Edward as a Spy. As the reader navigates the story, they will discover the challenges he Chaucer faces in his duty and its plot twist.

"Apologies, Chaucer, but I must leave you now and attend to matters of war. You have my answer to give our good king and his son the prince. I suggest you delay your departure until we have won tomorrow’s battle or risk capture.” “I understand, my lord. Thank you for seeing us.” Chaucer and Alfonso left the tent.

Corry's writing style is engaging and descriptive. He captures the complex events that took place in 14th-century Europe and puts them under the spotlight of the story. He accurately blends history in emotional depth, allowing the reader to engage with the events from the beginning to the end. The language in the novel significantly contributes to the reader's reading experience. For instance, his vivid description of events immerses the reader in the setting and era of the story. The author also employs dialogue, uses historical and archaic language, and does so with a poetic quality.

When they finally emerged from the forest and onto a plain, they saw the city at the crossroads of Castile, Navarre, and Aragon. Rising above the city walls was the Royal Palace of Olite, a fortified castle with crenelated towers over a hundred feet tall. One day. But this day was not that day, and this day was not done. He lit another candle, took a swig from his goblet, picked up a fresh piece of vellum, picked up his quill, dipped it in the ink pot, and began to scratch the words that had been burned into his heart these many years.

Moreover, the tone is reflective, revealing the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters against the backdrop of the stressful situations that they face. The relationship between Chaucer and Pippa in particular is well-crafted, with each of them being attracted to something different that motivates and challenges them. The potential romance between Chaucer and the Navarrese knight lady Alfonso Dona Constanza is also essential, as the two experience cultural differences and grow in respect for each other. The political relationships between the diverse kingdoms and factions also play an important role, with alliances and betrayals affecting the route of the conflict.

Another standout feature is Corry’s use of dialogue to build relationships and create tension between characters. For instance, Chaucer and Pippa are the characters that particularly reflect the theme of love in the narrative. They build a connection by their teasing of each other. And in that, most men would be the same, save the quill and vellum,” he said weakly. “That leaves few men with a clever tongue worth having,” she said. “And yet that quill and vellum is but a stage for the clever tongue you say you enjoy. You will admit our tos and fros are most enjoyable, if rare,” he said.

Corry's ability to create a multidimensional, well-compelled narrative evokes in the reader the desire to emotionally invest in the novel. The novel is satisfying, engaging, and enjoyable. Each chapter and stage of the novel contributes to the larger narrative, increasing the stakes and keeping the reader focused on Chaucer's journey. Another notable character, King Pedro the Cruel, whose multifaceted personality is driven by their his personal desires.

The theme also conveys a message to the reader about the devastating effects of war during that era. Moreover, we learn the importance of loyalty and the aftermath of betrayal. The theme of love in particular is likely to resonate with the struggles that occur when trying to balance relationships and careers. Corry reveals the way of life of different societies during the 14th century and how politics and society functioned in the past.

He had been struggling with a poem about a knight who goes to war to escape his unrequited love for a noblewoman. It was a poem that he thought might be worthy of sharing at a puy. He struggled to write it because his unrequited love was for Blanche, the Duchess of Lancaster, the wife of Prince John of Gaunt, and it was real, which confused him. It had been real and unrequited for five years now since he first laid eyes upon her after joining the court. He had hoped that his journey to Navarre would take his mind off of Blanche, but it had only made him pine for her more. And then he met Joan, Prince Edward’s wife, in Bordeaux, and he now pined for her also.

The novel is well organized, with a sequencing that creates a sense of flow, allowing the reader to follow along with the novel's events from one chapter to the next. Using This builds tension and suspense as the reader waits to see how some conflicts in the novel will be resolved. The well-spaced paragraphs and text indicated that the novel is well formatted, with a sizable format that is easy to read. Moreover, there are no visible editing errors that affect the reading experience.

The efforts that Cory has put into blending historical fiction and romance are truly recognizable. The novel is not only likely to leave a lasting impression on readers who are interested in historical fiction but also on those who love romance fiction.


The Storytellers War by J.C, Corry is a novel that received five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company.



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