First Sentence: The trees in the forest were nearly denuded of leaves.
Templar Knight Bascot de Marins is spending time at Lincoln Castle with his young, mute servant, Gianni. He is still recovering from the torture he suffered at the hands of the Saracans during his years of captivity in the Holy Lands.
King John and King William of Scotland are on their way to Lincoln Castle and everything must be perfect to receive them. The body of young Squire Hubert de Tournay is found hands bound and hung from a tree in the forest. The murder doesn't appear to have been done by poachers as the squire has not been stripped of his fine clothing or accessories. As castellan of Lincoln Castle, Lady Nicolaa de la Haye is responsible for the fife and ensuring peace within it., thus asking Bascot to uncover the killer.
I found this a much better book than the first, "The Alehouse Murders." While there were a lot of characters, each was distinct and easily identified. Lady Nicolaa is a wonderful, strong woman and it's nice to see that woman did play an important role during the time.
But it is Bascot who really draws me to the story. He is a Templar Knight who, while questioning his future, still honors the commitments he made. His care for Gianni, whom he admits feeling about more as a father than a master, adds a humanity and caring to his obvious intellect and strength.
The story is so well researched and plotted with excellent suspense and twists along the way. It was a wonderful read and I hope a series that will continue on for some time.