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A Friar's Bloodfeud (Knights Templar Mysteries (Headline)) Hardcover – 5 Dec 2005

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (5 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755322991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755322992
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 3.6 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,073,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Who is this guy Jecks?

Michael was a moderate student and early on, being a callow youth, decided on a career as an actuary. This decision was based solely on the fact that he heard it was the highest paid profession. Well, he had a father who was one, and a brother, too, but the money certainly helped.
Not realizing that a standard definition of an actuary is "someone who finds accountancy too exciting", he achieved the relevant grades at A level and wandered off to City University, London. There, he excelled - as bar chairman - but not at actuarial studies. Firmly convinced that his course was incomprehensible (Life & Other Contingencies? Advanced Statistics? Programming in Pascal?) and other parts were designed by knaves, cretins and the criminally insane (Economics), he left the course after failing every exam for two years.

With the glittering example of a second, unqualified, brother who earned very good money, had a bonus scheme, free car, free petrol, expense account and free holiday each year, Michael decided to follow this brother into computer sales.
Joining one company selling "office automation" from the back of Gray's Inn Road (typewriters), he soon progressed to a company selling personal computers. Especially the ACT Sirius. He left and set up a division of PC sales for City of London Computer Services, only to lose his job when a second partner, who didn't believe PCs would take off, returned from a long holiday.
Following that, Michael went to a new start-up to help form Electronic Office Services. When that firm collapsed (with one director disappearing, apparently to the Bahamas with all the company's money), Michael was left without a job.
He saw an advert for an interview with a company called Wordplex, and went to see the company at an open day in a London hotel. After a lengthy interview process, which involved five formal meetings, he was accepted.
Later he heard he had been taken on because he was "the only twenty-one year old I've ever seen turn up to a job interview smoking a pipe, you berk" - (Dick Houghton, Regional Director, Wordplex, 1981).
For the next four years, Michael sold Wordplex systems as one of a hundred salesmen in the UK. He was consistently one of the top salespeople in the country, and as a result was headhunted to join Wang Laboratories in 1985.
Wang was a challenging company. All salespeople who did not achieve their monthly targets at least once in every three months were summarily dismissed. Michael survived until 1990, when Wang collapsed, and Michael took a job with Rank Xerox. This interesting job involved selling equipment that was roughly eight years out of date. There he lasted six months before being asked to join NBI, a Colorado-based firm created by ingesters of certain illegal substances, who (out of respect for the success of IBM, ICL, NCR and ACT) named their business: Nothing But Initials.
The company closed their international operations three months after Michael joined them.
At a loose end once more, Michael looked to a job with a more secure future. Thus it was that he entered the leasing business. At the time no leasing salesman could earn less than £100,000 per annum. Michael joined a new firm called Celsius Computer Services, and in the first three months sold £1.25 million of business. Then Atlantic Leasing crashed and the entire market fell with it. Michael was unemployed without redundancy - again.
Moving to safer shores with software sales, Michael joined IBM's largest software supplier, Bluebird. They went bust a year later (owing him a lot).

Out of Computing, Into Writing
It was a while later, after 13 jobs in 13 years, that Michael finally took the hint. He found himself at the beginning of 1994 once more without a job, and so he sat down to decide on a new course. He had no qualifications, but he knew he loved reading. With that conviction, he began to write, becoming a full-time homeworker while his wife went to work and supported their (exorbitant) mortgage.
Those were interesting times.
In three months, Michael worked seven days a week, fourteen hours a day. In that time he wrote a modern day thriller, a management book on how to get work when made redundant (he had experience of that) and a historical crime novel that was to become The Last Templar.
The thriller was snapped up by Bantam over the phone - and rejected two days later in writing because it was all about the IRA, and they had just agreed their first ceasefire. The second book was rejected by his agent because her husband had recently left her for an IBM Systems Engineer. She wanted nothing to do with books about computers or computer people, and if Michael's book could help them find contentment and employment, she was content to see it burned.

Since 1995 and the launch of The Last Templar, Michael has been a persistent and prolific author. City of Fiends was the 31st story in the series that follows the lives of Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, a renegade Templar, and his friend Bailiff Simon Puttock through the miserable period of famine, war and disease that was the first half of the fourteenth century.
The series is the first to tell the tale of that time.
It charts the incompetent reign of King Edward II, the appalling avarice and criminality of his chief advisers, Sir Hugh le Despenser and (sadly) Bishop Walter II of Exeter; then the war against France and the desertion of Edward by his wife Isabella, and her return with a small army to remove him from the throne.
However it is not merely a crime series. The whole of the Kingdom was changing: after fifty years the language of authority stopped being French and became English; the feudal system was broken; farming was becoming efficient and organised; new towns were springing up - and the king was losing control of law-making and even war-making. It was probably the period in which England changed the most, apart from perhaps the fifty years post World War II.

Over the years, the series has sold well in the UK and America, with translations into Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, Italian, and many other countries.
In America it has been taken on by many schools as a means of imparting accurate social history. It has revived interest in Edward II's reign, and has made Michael friends all across the globe.
With the publication of Templar's Acre in 2013, which was a prequel to the series, Michael felt it was time to take a break. As a result, he wrote ACT OF VENGEANCE, a modern day spy thriller, which received the comment from Lee Child who said it was "An instant classic British spy novel - mature, thoughtful, and intelligent ... but also raw enough for our modern times.  Highly recommended."

Michael has made many friends with authors in the medieval period. He founded Medieval Murderers as a performance group, and soon had the idea that the group should write a collaborative novel. This collection of linked novellas was published as Tainted Relic by Simon & Schuster. DEADLIEST SIN is the tenth anniversary edition, published in 2014
As well as the Templar Series and Medieval Murderers, Michael has compiled ebook collections of his short stories. FOR THE LOVE OF OLD BONES and NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM have all the short stories previously published in collections from Maxim Jakubowski, Mike Ashley and the Crime Writers' Association.
Michael is now writing a thrilling trilogy based on the lives of a vintaine (platoon) of archers during the early years of the Hundred Years War. FIELDS OF GLORY, the first, was published in 2014.

Michael has long had an interest in helping new writers, and for two years he organised the Debut Dagger for the Crime Writers' Association, helping five authors win their first publishing contracts as a result.
In 2004 he was elected as Chairman of the CWA, and afterwards he accepted a post as judge on the CWA/Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award, on which he served for three years. More recently he has been working with the International Thriller Writers and in 2011 he helped create the Historical Writer's Association, and remains on the organising committee.
In 2007 Michael was proud to be asked to collaborate with Conway Stewart to produce the Michael Jecks fountain pen. Other honours include being invited as the International Guest of Honour at the Bloody Words gala 2014, to being the Grand Master of the first parade of the 2014 Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Michael is a regular speaker about the Knights Templar, the end of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, about writing and publishing, and about finding work. He is also keen to help those who are now going through the latest recession. He endured enough hardship, and lost all his savings, during the last recession, and understands what it means to risk losing everything.

An enthusiastic photographer and watercolourist, Michael can often be seen walking across Dartmoor where he lives, gaining inspiration into the lives of our ancestors for his stories. When relaxing he can usually be found clad in white in a pub near you before dancing mad stick Morris.

For more on Michael Jecks, check out writerlywitterings.com, look him up at writerlywitterings on YouTube, check his pictures on Flickr.com/photos/Michael_Jecks, like his page on FaceBook, or check for him on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and all other social media!

Product Description

Review

"Nicely detailed and tightly argued, with involving and memorable characters. The whole series belongs in any collection wherehistoricals are popular."

Book Description

The nineteeenth novel in this 'Tremendously successful medieval mystery series' (Sunday Independent) featuring the ever-popular Baldwin Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Cassette
For those readers who are familiar with Michael Jecks books, this one is just as good as all the rest. For those who have not read Michael Jecks, but like historical novels, particularly about medieval England, you are in for all real treat.

The two main characters in the books are Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock. Sir Baldwin is an ex Crusader knight, who has managed to escape the wrath of the French King who ordered the destruction of the Order and all of its members.

Sir Baldwin is now the head of the family manor after the death of his brother and is also Keeper of the King's Peace in Devon.

Word reaches Simon that a gang of men have broken into the house of his servant Hugh and attacked the family. When Simon reaches the cottage he find it burnt to the ground and the bodies already buried. It would seem that Hugh must have perished in a dreadful accident, but Simon and Sir Baldwin begin to suspect that there is much more to it than that
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By IP TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Oct. 2015
Format: Paperback
The perfect companion for all history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKER Calix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Baldwin and Simon can chalk up their twentieth case with this latest offering, set in rural Devon. Fishleigh and Monkleigh are on opposing sides in a game of primitive football, but soon their respective masters, Sir Odo de Bordeaux and Sir Geoffrey Servington, are to clash for rather weightier reasons. Sir Geoffrey's steward has been found dead, Lady Lucy is missing and Simon's old servant Hugh has perished with his wife and son in a deliberately set house fire. This sounds like a job for the coroner, but it looks as though Baldwin and Simon might make more sense of the matter.
This is a dark tale of darker times, and if you like the historical along with the crime, then this book ought to appeal. There is plenty of both in here, with a bleak look at the times when Edward II was king and Lord Despenser actually ruled and did as he pleased. This begets crime, and the murders in here are a world away from the more contrived ones in cozier books.

Jecks has found his style after trying others, and if you think that historical whodunits are cosy, then you ought to read this (although it would make more sense if you read the other nineteen first). If it isn't hard to guess whodunit for some of the crimes, it is for others and although book has over 400 pages, there is so much in here that I can honestly say that this is one long book that actually does contain a long story. This is an equal balancing act between historical background and the mystery that leaves the reader feeling satisfied.
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Format: Paperback
Rather than just provide you with a synopsis of the book, I will note that a few years ago I started reading late in the series. I was eventually compelled to search in book stores and online for the earlier books in the series so that I could read them in sequence of publication. To date, and I have the latest in the series which is #27, I have not regretted that effort. I find the Jecks Knights Templar Mysteries a joy to read both from the perspective of the history and the excellent weaving of a mystery tale that includes the personal trials of the main characters and their families. I should mention that I have had others read some of his work without knowing the author and compare it to others also without the author known. Consistently, they pick out Jecks as the preferred author for quality of writing within an historical framework. What amazes me is how Jecks continues a high quality of writing in this genre and, to me, seems to get better over time. There are those authors who may write one good tale, the next not as good as the previous, etc., but for me, Jecks continues to astonish me we consistently good reads. You may feel that you know how a particular title is going to end, but you probably won't see the twist he may include. If you like those authors who "feed you the ending" so that you can pat yourself on the back for being so clever, you may prefer the "penny mystery" style. If you are not particular about historical accuracy, you may prefer those who "dress up" a character in a costume that might or might not be right for the period. So, if you like "penny mystery" and "dress up" look for those authors. But, if you want to enjoy a read and want more, read Jecks. BTW, that goes for the U.K.(spent time there and still have associations)or the U.S.
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Format: Audio CD
For those readers who are familiar with Michael Jecks books, this one is just as good as all the rest. For those who have not read Michael Jecks, but like historical novels, particularly about medieval England, you are in for all real treat.

The two main characters in the books are Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock. Sir Baldwin is an ex Crusader knight, who has managed to escape the wrath of the French King who ordered the destruction of the Order and all of its members.

Sir Baldwin is now the head of the family manor after the death of his brother and is also Keeper of the King's Peace in Devon.

Word reaches Simon that a gang of men have broken into the house of his servant Hugh and attacked the family. When Simon reaches the cottage he find it burnt to the ground and the bodies already buried. It would seem that Hugh must have perished in a dreadful accident, but Simon and Sir Baldwin begin to suspect that there is much more to it than that
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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