Mothwing asked Karen Maitland:

Dear Ms Maitland, can you recommend any good non-fiction works that can be used to learn more about the times and places your novels are set in? (Especially for 14th Century Britain?)

Karen Maitland Dear Mothwing,
Some of the ones I find most useful are - "The Medieval Traveller" by Norbert Ohler - that gives really good picture of medieval life including river craft, horses and pack animals, inns and lodgings, travel inside Britain and pilgrimages, the medieval highway code and many accounts of journeys made by medieval travellers who wrote about their adventures. Packed with fascinating detail.

"Life in a Medieval Village" - by Frances and Joseph Gies, in contrast details everyday life at home in one medieval village, including fines for stealing grain by hiding it in secret pockets during harvest etc.

"The Medieval Underworld" by Andrew McCall is great favourite of mine - exploring the lives of people on the margins of society - criminals, witches, prostitutes and beggars, both in England and Europe. Lots of stories taken from the contemporary accounts - those who got away with crimes and those who didn't. How brothels were inspected and who owned them etc.

"Medieval & Early Renaissance Medicine" by Nancy G. Siraisi covers everything from medical training to surgery and helps you to understand what medieval people knew about anatomy and medical treatment which was often surprisingly advanced.

Finally, there is a new book, which has just been published which has been recommended to me by several historical fiction writers - "The Middle Ages Unlocked. A guide to life in the Middle Ages 1050-1300" by Gillian Polack & Katrin Kania. I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm told it is a really good guide, if you are interested in the early centuries too.

I hope that gives you a few ideas. Thank you for your question.

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