Excerpt from Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Milton, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Edward Trencom's Nose

A Novel of History, Dark Intrigue, and Cheese

by Giles Milton

Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Milton X
Edward Trencom's Nose by Giles Milton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2007, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2008, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


‘Great God!’ he thought. ‘Where’s everyone gone? I must get out – I must get myself to the river.’

He allowed himself one final glance at the still-burning corpse of what had only recently been Trencoms cheese shop before turning on his heels and fleeing down the lane, stumbling over charred timbers and mounds of fallen masonry.

His mind was focused absolutely on saving his own skin and it was not until he at last reached the waterfront that he began to assess his predicament with a degree of clarity. As he did so, his thoughts performed several somersaults before turning in a most unexpected direction. He began to ask himself if the fire was the sign that his mother, in her characteristically cryptic fashion, had told him to one day expect. She had always insisted that the Trencom family was awaiting some sort of signal from the heavens and that when it came he would not fail but to notice it.

‘Watch out for it, Humphrey,’ she had said to him when he was still a young boy, ‘and seize the moment. The sign will mark your destiny and it will also mark the destiny of the Trencoms. Yes, it will betoken good tidings for our family for generation upon generation.’

As a small boy, Humphrey had often asked his mother to tell him more, but she would only ever offer him one of her customary monologues. ‘All the noble courts of Europe once sought our blood,’ she would say with a vigorous nod of her head. ‘Oh, yes. And we could have married into some of the very greatest dynasties. Tsar Ivan the Terrible proposed to Irene, your great-great-great-grandmother. And King Gustavus II Adolphus of Sweden offered one of your aunts the city of Lutzen in Saxony as her dowry.’

The youthful Humphrey had listened entranced to his mother’s litany of royal names and houses. He had heard these stories so many times that he knew, almost to the word, what was coming next.

‘Here it comes – here it comes,’ he would think to himself, mimicking in his head his mother’s strange accent. ‘And I could have married Prince Christian IV of Denmark, Norway and the Lofoten Islands.’

‘And I,’ she said right on cue, ‘could have married the Holy Roman Emperor himself – yes, indeed – Ferdinand III. But I didn’t like the cut of his moustache.’

Humphrey had involuntarily gulped when he realized that the well-worn script had suddenly acquired a new and most illustrious personality.

‘Really, mother?’ he had said. ‘Are you sure it wasn’t Prince Christian IV – of Denmark, Norway and the Lofoten Islands?’

‘Aye,’ had been her answer as she spat in the dust. ‘Him as well. I could have married them all. But I – we – didn’t want to mix our blood with such inferiors.’

‘Then why,’ Humphrey had asked tentatively, ‘did you marry my father?’

There was a long pause as his mother, Zoe, looked dreamily at the cob and timber dwelling that had been her home for the last ten years.

‘I fell in love,’ she had replied, wiping her eyes on her kirtle. ‘And I knew that together we could produce the son who would reclaim our patrimony. That’s you, Humphrey. And when I saw your nose – when I saw that you had inherited my nose – I felt sure that it was only a question of time. We had left our homeland in a welter of fire and flame – and a welter of fire and flame would surely send us back there again.’

What exactly had his mother meant by these words? Humphrey had never known for certain, but now, as he turned his head towards the burning skyline, he quickly convinced himself that the fire was the mysterious portent of which she had spoken. To his way of thinking, the flames that had destroyed his shop heralded something of the utmost importance.

Copyright © 2007 by Giles Milton. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.