“To the Victor Belong the Spoils” and “Winner Takes All” are common sayings. It makes sense on some levels. Someone wins, someone loses. Winner takes, loser gives.
In the context of Monopoly, it’s all fun and games. But what about when it comes to occupying someone’s land in real life? Or taking over their culture? Stripping them or their home? And what about their livelihood? Or their mere survival?
J. Anderson Coats thoughtfully navigates these thorny questions in her thoroughly-researched historical novel, The Wicked and the Just, which is told from the eyes of two girls on opposites ends of the English occupation of Wales during the late 13th century.
Cecily, an English girl, has long fantasized about the day when she would become the Lady of Edgely Manor. But when a court rules in favor of her uncle Robert, she and her father are left landless.
Facing the choice of being steward of the manor of which he was formerly the master and becoming a burgess in Wales, with none of the financial and military obligations of a manor lord, Cecily’s father chooses the latter. He packs up their belongings in Coventry, where he and Cecily have been living while awaiting the verdict on Edgely manor, and they begin their life in Caernarvon, the heart of occupied Wales.