Stepchildren of the Eighth Commandment

Stepchildren of the Eighth Commandment
Author: Henry Lion Oldie
Publish: 1996
Language: French, Ukrainian, Russian
Reader's Review: Adventure historical fantasy-romance, Medieval Poland.

RU, FR, UA. Novel, 1996.

Adventure historical fantasy-romance, Medieval Poland.

In a distant village Shaflary in the lower part of Tatra mountains lives an old man Samuel-batsa; his adopted children are strangely gifted: they seem to be like all other people, but they can do such things that ordinary people shouldn't be able to do. They are thieves, all of them, but not those who rob somebody's money or break into the houses; they take only the other people's thoughts, hopes, abilities and knowledge and they use all this for themselves. And those whom they robbed forget completely all that had been taken from them and even ignore that they have been robbed at all. Samuel's children live rather well: Jan is the abbot in a Benedictine monastery, and he's soon to become a bishop, for many people believe him to be a saint, because they feel relieved of all sins and fears after they confessed to the reverend Jan; Teresa is the wife of a rich merchant and her husband owes much of his success to her. Michal is the voivode in a noble lord's castle, he married a girl whom he loved, and not without profit; such luck is a rare thing, and besides he's a skilled master of fencing and in XVII century such skills are very good payed for. Only the youngest sister Martha was unlucky: she had been the companion and the best friend of the Baroness von Eisendorf who introduced her to the high society in Vienna, but she had lost her place because she fell in love with a common thieve, the merry Joseph. And when she got seriously ill and was at the verge of dying Joseph payed the price of her life to the Death by selling his own soul to the Devil. They agreed that in an appointed moment Joseph should commit the suicide. But when the moment comes Martha succeeds to take the soul of her beloved from the One who had the right to possess it. But a human soul is heavy, heavier than petty thoughts or knowledge, it's difficult to carry it, and Martha failed to retain Joseph's soul; it entered the body of his dog that was sitting and vailing at his master's body... And the lovers flee from the Devil, they cross many countries until they come to Martha's native land and ask her borther Jan the abbot for help. But even within the walls of his monastery evil people and strange creatures lie in wait for Martha. When the news comes that the old Samuel had died in some strange way all his adopted children come together. Short was their travel to Shaflary, but full of dangers and adventures. There at last they learn everything. The end is rather unexpected and almost happy...

This novel is written in a style usual for H. L. Oldie, that of "philosophical fantasy hit", but this time it is more like a classical historical novel and contains accordingly a good deal of romance, jealousy, happy and unhappy love, duels, misticism and so on. The plot is as complicated as it should be in the violent XVII century.

The novel "Stepchildren of the Eighth Commandment" was awarded in 1997 with the "MoonSword" Prize as "the best mystic and horror novel"; some parts of it were used for a radio show.

Published 11 times from 1996 to 2020 (Ukraine, Lithuania, Canada, Russia).