From the misfortunes of war to a medieval message

Archers, Alchemists, and 98 Other Medieval Jobs You Might Have Loved or Loathed. By Priscilla Calloway. Illustrated by Martha Newbigging. Annick Press. pound;9.95. 10-plus

The title might at first suggest one of those self-consciously sordid evocations of ancient blood, pus and filth, but this excellent Canadian book is much more wide-ranging and interesting.

Top primary readers will benefit from a broad historical survey, reminding them that the Middle Ages lasted 1,000 years. The 100 job opportunities are divided into categories: Religious (Pope to parish priest), Castle (princess to pastry chef), and Law and Order (sheriff to bandit). Each individual career path is mapped out in a few informative paragraphs, with particular attention paid to skills, costumes, rewards and disadvantages

Tom Deveson

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