Castle Crespin

By Allen Andrews

Apparently, Allen Andrews is one of those one-or-two book authors that surface, get published and then disappear. That’s a very great pity, because Castle Crespin has a lot of good in it.

  • Author: Allen Andrews
  • Title: Castle Crespin
  • Pages: 238
  • Published: 1982
  • Publisher: Tor
  • ISBN: 0-812-53097-7

The story is not very complex: somewhere in Poitou in 1225 A.D., there’s a castle, a few farms and a large wood. The animals in the wood form one society, the humans another. The two only meet through a small group of friars, a simpleton and a beagle. When a templar gone robber knight visits the castle, things start happening, leading to a not unqualifiedly happy resolution.

Castle Crespin, at least in this edition, has been cursed with completely silly cover. But that’s the worst of the book. The writing is inspired in many places, and light and touching in other places. If theology is your thing then you’ll find lots of good Franciscan theology all over the place.

The society of animals is depicted in a way that feels related to the old Fox Reynard stories that we were given to read in Middle Dutch in secondary school, but with a twist. The exploits of the fox Fulgent are very well done, but the best bit must be the meeting between the beagle Rupert and the hare Lulu. That section alone was worth the price of the book — which was heavily discounted.

Castle Crespin is a sequel to The Pig Plantagenet, was published in 1982, before the internet, in other words, and is now only available through antiquarian resources. Well worth the hunt.