Tod Wodicka
All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well;
and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well.
Pantheon, 272 pages, $21.95.

One winter, years ago, I quaffed too much of a certain potation and woke up the next morning, like Twain’s Connecticut Yankee, back in days of old. The elixir was nothing magical, of course, and the mechanism of my “time travel” was simple enough: I slept through a college housing deadline and had to settle for a room in the “stronghold” or “keep”—or “physical plant,” as the insurance men joylessly insisted on calling it—of the campus medievalist group.

This was my first brush with the faire folk, the mead-drinkers and doublet-stitchers, the ones who spent high school daydreaming about how a trebuchet full of burning pitch might liven up the next pep rally. I had hoped it would be my last, but then came Burt Hecker, the...


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