The Life & Travels of Saint Cuthwin

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“If one were to combine the creative genes of Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck, the result might just be Irving Warner.” –Library Journal

This novel is a virtual time machine that takes the reader back to 11th century England-the time of Saxon domination before and after the disastrous Battle of Hastings in 1066. Step directly into the footsteps of Cuthwin of Alnwick, an ordinary man and his wife who work to survive. For more about the creation and historical period of ‘Cuthwin’, as well as the making of an author, please visit:

PRE-ORDER A DELUXE EDITION for $50 (retail price $75), through the Pub date of August 15, 2020. 100 deluxe editions will be printed by McNaughton and Gunn. It will be a beautiful collector’s item, with a red hard cover, in a black slip case, with red spot color. Signed by the author on a colophon of ivory, deckled paper; set and printed by artist and calligrapher, Lars Kim ( Order with the buy now or add to cart buttons below. Available only from publisher.

Printed by McNaughton & Gunn with red spot color and dust jacket. (wordpress charges for two order buttons, so button will say donation, but royalties will go to author).


This novel is a virtual time machine that takes the reader back to 11th century England—the time of Saxon domination before and after the disastrous Battle of Hastings in 1066. Step directly into the footsteps of Cuthwin of Alnwick. There are few “great men or women” in this historical novel, but instead the story of an ordinary man and his wife who work to survive. Cuthwin, who dictates his story around his 85th year of life, scrupulously avoided people of great power and standing. As he told his wife, the fiery Cwenburh, “such folk as we, are pebbles and dirt under heavy merciless wheels of great men and women.” So, follow the real medieval life, and not that of fantasy and privilege. Via the combination of conscientious research and robust storytelling, “Cuthwin” is a historical novel dealing respectfully with its period and people.


If you are interested in delving into researched, accurate historical info and understanding of these medieval times, or would like to discover the motives behind plot development, engage in character analysis, or unmask reasons for religious commentary conveyed throughout the telling of this tale…or if you have any curiosity as to why N.W. author Irving Warner felt compelled to write this book in general, please visit his website, which also includes the author’s influences in becoming a writer during a bygone era:


Irving Warner is the author of five other books from Pleasure Boat Studio, including In Memory of Hawks and Other Stories of Alaska and The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith. He has traveled extensively throughout his life. He lived in Hawaii for nine years and spent thirty-three years in Alaska. There he worked in fisheries, fisheries science, and wildlife biology and as a teacher at a community college in Kodiak. After that, he settled down in in Port Angeles, Washington, where he has spent the past six years writing THE LIFE & TRAVELS OF SAINT CUTHWIN, and where he has resided for the past fourteen years.


Review quotes from prior work:

About In Memory of Hawks: “Irving Warner is a rare find. His stories are filled with the subtlety and power of the great American masters…He has the touch.” –Jack Olsen, The Pitcher’s Kid
About The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith: “…an unusually well-crafted book. Thoroughly researched, richly detailed, and exceptionally well written.” –David James, Fairbanks News-Miner
“…this book is hard to put down…Warner writes with great depth and intensity of the honor and bravery required for Lila Ann to triumph against the odds.” –Beverly J. Rowe, Women’s Status in Texarkana
About Crossing the Water, The Alaska-Hawaii Trilogies: “The strength…is its realism…masterly woven…unusual and exceptional.” –Teri Davis


Other books by Irving Warner:

In Memory of Hawks, and Other Stories from Alaska (1998)
Wagner, Descending: The Wrath of the Salmon Queen (2002)
The historical novel The War Journal of Lila Ann Smith (2007)
Crossing the Water: The Alaska-Hawaii Trilogies (2009)


Book Clubs: Issues and Questions about The Life & Travels of Saint Cuthwin

1. The Life & Travels of Saint Cuthwin took place in an 11th century England that was dominated by Western Catholicism. There were various good and bad parts of that institution that drove the story. What parts of it might be thought of as ‘good’, from the 11th century viewpoint of an ordinary working person.  
2. Cuthwin’s prime motivation for dictating his life to the monks of Cornwall (modern region’s name), was to show contemporary and later people how he was not a saint. The standout example was his inability to forgive. This alone is heretical, but are there others as well?
3. Cwenburh, Cuthwin’s wife, went about “things” in a less clever way than Cuthwin. Is that true, actually?  One dark spot is she wouldn’t/couldn’t perceive the threat of noble and/or powerful people as Cuthwin did. Her open defiance of his word, though demonstrating strength of character, led to disaster. 
4. If there is an 11th century hell, will the character “Frog” inhabit it after death?
5. Abbot Elsin of Peterborough often played a direct role in the making of Cuthwin what he became. But if you had to choose a scene in the novel where “Father Abbot” had the most influence on Cuthwin, what would it be? 
6. As readers we see Cuthwin make an extraordinary transition from his youth in Peterborough Monastery, to the closing years of his life. First off, we have a transition from the work in the stable, to that of a commercial scribe, to the grueling (comparatively) unskilled labor building stone fences. How did these transitions enhance the fundamental moral compass Cuthwin had? 
7. In almost every place in the novel, the reader ‘sees’ Cuthwin’s presence of mind. There is a single occasion, though, when Cuthwin ‘loses’ it and flies into a froth of anger: When the tragedy of Cwenburh and Cuthwin’s stillborn child is used by a churchman in an attempt to bilk the clasp from Cuthwin. There is a profound irony at this moment which lends itself to this grim human scenario.  
8. In the fictitious ‘introduction’ by the equally fictitious “R. Aubrey Richards”, the reader is forewarned about “earthier words and expressions”. Furthermore, that the story of Cuthwin might be felt “negative” by the [Catholic] church of the early 19th century. What was Warner’s purpose in writing this fictional introduction? 
9. When the reader encounters Marvis of Tilton, they have a rude and practical demonstration of Saxon women different standing in society than they had under Norman rule. Discuss a woman’s role in Saxon society as seen in this novel and in historical fact.  How did this role add to the tragedy of a Norman victory over the Saxon army at Hastings in 1066? 
10. A thoroughly cantankerous mule came into Cuthwin’s life after the Norman slaughter all Cuthwin’s loved ones and friends in that fatal copse. Was this mule a spiritual continuation of Cwenburh’s vigorous, uncompromising essence?
11. There were many places in the novel where Cuthwin and Cwenburh actions flew in the face of eleventh century (and modern!) Christianity’s basic tenets. In fact, their relationship and child are begotten prior to marriage; her youthful pregnancy didn’t seem to bother Cwenburh one bit. Isn’t this a form of “shopping cart” religion, i.e. that you select here and there bits and pieces of a religion that meet your approval, then ignore others that do not?  Does this not limit the serious spiritual standing of Cwenburh and Cuthwin? (Reminder! Cuthwin even ‘forgives’ Cwenburh’s adultery—a most grievous sin both ways.)

Additional information

Weight 22.08 oz
Dimensions 6 × 0.95230 × 9 in




Page/Word Count


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$50.00 / PRE-ORDER BEFORE 8.15.20
Printed by McNaughton & Gunn


Printed by McNaughton & Gunn


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