What a medieval romp and great treat this book was from Elin Gregory. If you like your knights in shining armour then you’re going to love this one.
Elin is also here with us explaining exactly what bollock daggers are. Yes, you read correctly ~ bollock daggers ~ curious? Then why not read on……
Guest Post ~ Elin Explains Bollock Daggers
I was both pleased and apprehensive when Mark asked me to make a post to go with his review of A Taste of Copper. What could I write about? Probably something historical. Something fun and easy to cover in a couple of hundred words and a few pictures. Then it occurred to me that it might be worth commenting on that most useful of medieval accessories – the belt knife.
Everyone carried one of these, men and women, because they were used for almost everything. Eating of course – no forks in those days – but nail trimming, hair cutting, you could shave with it if the iron took a good enough edge. You would kill, gut, skin and butcher your meat, stir the pot and use the point to pick out the good bits, repair a cart and perform minor surgery all without washing the blade in between.
A good knife was essential and the most favoured type for the medieval man about town, battlefield, court or boudoir, was the bollock knife. Yes I said bollock – as in testicle. The knives looked like this:
I have one of these and it fits the hand really well and the two nicely rounded bulbs enable the user to apply pressure to the point with a minimum of slippage. A totally practical shape and it's surely coincidence that throughout most of the 14th and 15th century when its popularity was at its height, the knife would be worn prominently displayed at the front of the belt, or tucked through the flap of a pouch so it stuck out at a humorous angle.
Tres Riches Heures -
Everyone loved bollock knives. When they excavated the Tudor warship Mary Rose, the bollock knife was the most common type of knife to be found:
Tudor – Mary Rose finds
There is considerable variation in the type and quality of the blades and hilts, from the simplest, as in the first picture to far more complex combinations, such as this modern reproduction of a medieval type where the large ballock dagger's sheath also housed a single bladed knife designed for eating and a deadly stiletto suitable for slipping easily between the joints of an enemy's armour.
So they weren't just practical, nor just a display of earthy medieval humour, but had a very deadly purpose too.
In A Taste of Copper, when the chips are down and everything seems to be at its worst, the weapon of last resort is a dagger and the bollock knife is the one I imagined in Maheris's armoured fist. It seemed appropriate.
Just to finish off, here are a couple more pictures of men and their knives.
Title: A Taste of Copper
Author: Elin Gregory
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Released: 24th September 2014
Genre: M/M (historical)
Olivier the squire worships the Black Knight and takes a fierce joy in his prowess as he defends a bridge against all comers. Olivier only wishes that his master loved him as much in return instead of treating him as a servant and occasional plaything.
Then word comes that the King desires to cross the bridge. With an army approaching, a bright eyed archer enticing him to desert and the first cracks beginning to show in the Black Knight's gruff demeanour, Olivier is left wondering if his honour is worth more than a chance for happiness.
Knights in shining armour and not a single damsel in distress to be seen. Olivier is a squire to the Sir Maheris the Black Knight who has been charged by his lord to defend a bridge and to not let anyone cross. As simple as this plot may first seem, the whole story develops into a wonderful question of love and honour. This is a time of chivalry, courage and honour, well romantically at least, whether it really was like that is another story but Elin combines a wonderful writing style to give the reader the feel of medieval England and knights of old. Again the amount of research that goes into an historical novel to make it believable is unbelievable. Elin for me always comes up trumps on this point and once again I added a few new words to my own vocabulary from this era.
Olivier is squire to the black knight and has a sense of devotion and pride in his master that is just adorable. I definitely got the feeling that from Olivier’s side there was definitely a bit of hero worship going on, but how could blame him having such a string, powerful and handsome knight as a master. There is only one problem and that is the feelings that Olivier has for his master are definitely not reciprocated. All Olivier wants is a bit of love and attention instead he is treated and a servant and only that. The Black Knight is only in need of his own sexual relief, only in it for his own gratification and has no interest in pleasing Olivier. Well I guess what else would you expect from a rough, tough, alpha male who at least either seems to be totally detached from his own emotions or doesn’t have any at all. But
Well, the King arrives with his army wishing to cross the bridge and as honour will have it the Black Knight has to stand his ground and is challenged to a number of jousting rounds with the King’s Knights to decide the outcome of crossing the bridge. Very honourable indeed! However, there is an archer in the Kings army and Olivier’s attentions are attracted to other pastures. But this obviously tests his loyalties and is torn between the master he is sworn too and the attraction he feels for the King’s archer Hywel. I could only understand Olivier’s dilemma and feel his renitence to not cheat on Sir Maheris but also needing a bit of TLC and attention himself.
However, I guess if you are going to get the attention of the one you truly love then what better way than to make him jealous and realise what he could lose. No one needs to worry that any cheating goes on as it doesn’t, but Maheris sees Olivier is attracted to this person and realises that he must open up his heart and show his own true feelings of love he has for Olivier or risk losing him. This was a truly a beautiful moment when the strong Black Knight crumbles in order to win back Olivier. Yes, the tougher they are the harder they fall I guess and behind every successful knight there’s a successful squire. Thank goodness Sir Maheris realised this before it was too late. When these two get it on, oh my was it hawt! Left me exhausted and weak at the knees just thinking about Olivier after he got what he had always wished for from his Black Knight.
At last Olivier has the love and attention he has always wanted from his master and now the only other small problem to be got out the way is that Maheris has to survive the jousting tournament. I could just feel Olivier’s worry and angst for his knight and I was sweating too just reading about the jousting tournament. The way Elin writes about these duals are wonderful. You can hear the horses hooves thundering down the field, smell the sweat, feel the chain mail and armour. I was taken right back to every boys dream of knights, jousting, honour and chivalry. Well, every girl’s dream too I guess.
Elin has created a great medieval romp with an M/M romance which works perfectly! Full of atmosphere and tension between not only the MCs and their romantic inclinations, but also the challenge and honour facing The Black Knight and the King’s army. I wanted to go out, buy a toy sword and knight’s costume and immediately start my own medieval epic.
About The Author
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since 1958. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but now the kids are grown up it’s possible she might finish one of the many novels on her hard drive and actually DO something useful with it.
Historical subjects predominate. She has written about ancient Greek sculptors, 18th century seafarers but also about modern men who change shape at will and how echoes of the past can be heard in the present. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
There are always new works on the go and she is currently editing a novel about spies in the 1920s, finishing one set in 6th century AD England and contemplating one about the Second World War. Any excuse to buy more books!
Contact The Author
Elin will be giving away two books. The first winner to be drawn will receive a copy of A Taste of Copper. The second winner will receive a copy of her short story Sheep’s Clothing which is included in the anthology Bollocks.
Go HERE for Mark’s review on Sheep’s Clothing.
Just enter the draw below. Good Luck XX
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