LOVESONG BY GERALDINE McCAUGHREAN

In Lovesong, three-time Whitbread Prize winner Geraldine McCaughrean has written what Philippa Gregory called “Probably the best historical novel I have ever read.”

At the centre of the story is a talented troubadour, Peter Oriole, and his daughter, ‘Princess’ Ouallada. The opening sections of the book trace Oriole’s journey from France to the Holy Land in the service of two very different crusader Knights, one a saintly aesthete, the other a cynical opportunist. The twelfth century was a time when men and women were inventing – or perhaps reinventing – the nature of love itself, and it was the troubadour’s task to express that love in song – their fate either glory or scandalous ruin.

What does love mean to Oriole? As he discovers both romance and passion in his own life we are introduced to an extraordinary cast of characters – rogues, mountebanks, villains, heroes, damsels both in and out of distress, soldiers and holy men, all working out their own destiny, each compellingly and convincingly drawn.

This is the story of one man’s wreck on the sea of passion – and his daughter’s stormy voyage in his wake. With strikingly detailed imagery and characterisation that is totally convincing and compassionate, Geraldine McCaughrean has written a novel of ideas which is also storytelling at full pelt.

“McCaughrean is well on her way to becoming one of the few great novelists to adorn our age.” MAIL ON SUNDAY