Reactions from readers of the book
Sadly out of print
1339 or So: An Apology for a Pedlar
Originally published in 1975
In his own words
Trevanian, (answering written questions from Judy Quinn of Publisher's Weekly, in 1998) said about it. ...The first of these to come to a boil was a tale set in Wales in the 14th Century, a tale that dealt with one of the surprisingly frequent, apocalyptic "ends of the world," and that held out some hope for humankind. There was also wit and laughter, and many jabs at my eternal enemies. To write this one for me, I confected a wry old Welsh professor, Nicholas Seare..."
Some reactions from readers
A boisterous, heart-rending, and insightful mediaeval tale., June 27, 2001;a reader from SouthEast Asia In this literary labour dedicated to his children, 1339 or So reveals the author at his most lacerating disposition...and perhaps his most poignant. By way of the verbal prestidigitation of a pedlar (and through his Welsh-incarnation Nicholas Seare), the author articulates his insights into human nature and the human condition; at times painful, but always illuminating. The Pedlar is a "glib" of fabulous colour and piercing intellect -- part world-weary cynic, part jaded sentimental -- But in this End of the World setting, the entrancing prestidigitator's pointed wit ultimately gives way to poignant self-realisation which the author delivers in fine, unforgettable, and autumnal fashion.
Brilliantly funny and sad parable of medieval times, April 21, 1998; A reader
Trevanian has given the world some great books... he wrote the best airport novels ever, and as Nicholas Seare, he's produced two 'tales from Wales', one a romantic and uplifting comedy of manners and language that takes place just before the world comes to an end (Atomic? Ecological? Biological?). The tale, with its cast of unforgettable characters, gives hope and laughter to those who stare into the future, awaiting the end. 1339 is a novel about a pedlar who is not who he seems -- in fact, he is purely a vehicle for the writer's mordantly acute wit and affectionate (yet well disguised) sentimentality. All this and, as the elderly ex-professor author, a sly send-up of academia and research.