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Parliament of Spies, A (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery) Paperback – 29 Oct 2012

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Parliament of Spies, A (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery) + The Law of Angels: An Abbess of Meaux Mystery + Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (29 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749012137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749012137
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cassandra Clark has written award-winning scripts for theatre, radio and television and now writes the medieval mystery series Hildegard of Meaux set in the time of Richard II. Six novels, with a seventh on the way, feature intrepid, problem-solving Hildegard and her sidekick Brother Thomas. Love interest is supplied by several passing knights but mostly by the sexy and charismatic Abbot Hubert de Courcy. Will they ever get together or are he and Hildegard destined to sleep alone? Only time will tell.
The Gothic Yorkshire landscape and its crumbling medieval abbeys and ancient walled towns provide the context for Hildegard's sleuthing into the darker side of medieval England.
Cassandra says: don't read this is you want magic swords and unlikely characters with peculiar eyes. I prefer real people plotting to make a better life for themselves. Ambitious, greedy, sexy and above all human only their clothes, transport and buildings are different to ours. And of course there were no mobile phones, internet or aircraft. I've found the facts are often far stranger than fiction so read the series and follow Hildegard down the dangerous byways taken by some weirdly savage medieval murderers.

Product Description

Review

'As exciting a find as C J Sansom' --The Bookseller

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cherry Zablodsky on 1 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
This was my first encounter with Hildegard of Meaux. I am a huge fan of C.J. Sansom and find the Giordano Bruno series of S.J.Parris brilliant, so I thought this novel would be similar.
I find it odd that Clark has such admiration for one of our worst kings and like the reviewer who found errors with the falconry aspect, I feel the need to explain.
After the success of putting down the Peasants' Revolt, Richard ii didn't do much to crow about. Richard was a vain, self obsessed youth who amassed huge wealth by fining and taxing the populace. The Hundred Years War, and the victories gained by Richard's father, the Black Prince, had provided great financial gains to the nobles of England and here is Richard trying to hand back land to the French. Peaceful, you may think, but then he marches 14,000 men into Scotland at enormous expense. Richard surrounded himself with religious imagery and lavish symbolism, thought he was divine and from all accounts, didn't quite grasp the concept of leadership.
John of Gaunt, contrary to the image Clark conjures, was Richard's main support. His experience and statesmanship held the monarchy together. It was only when he was out of the country, that Richard's reign fell apart.
That deals with Clark's odd choice of monarch to champion. The story, however, is so mystifyingly convoluted that I almost lost track. Characters are coming in from left field without explanation. Then she adds in love interests which seem to me, incongruous for a nun. Some of the narrative is adequately descriptive but often turns into a list of bullet points. 'A retinue swarmed into the palace. All the Yeomen were being inspected. One or two were singled out. The King's men went into the kitchens.' Hard to get much enjoyment out of reading lists of events.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Oonagh O'Byrne on 1 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Not as good as the earlier books in the series, the author seemed to have changed her style of writing for the book & the result was confusion. The period of history that the book takes place in was very turbulent I understand that, but the style the book was written in made it all the more confusing. Overall I was quite disappointed. I finished the book but only just about.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. C. Simm VINE VOICE on 20 April 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To start with I enjoy historical whodunnits. I find they put flesh on dry old characters I learned about at school. Cassandra Clark is up with the best and her Abbess of Meaux is a believable and enthralling character, usually.
Clarks research seems from reading the past three novels to be on the button without distracting from the readability of the novel.
Having said this I now find myself feeling somewhat of a pedant. I am interested in falconry. Hawks, falcons and falconry are an integral part of the plot line in the latest mystery and yet Clark seems here to have done no research whatsoever. We hear that a hawk has killed a small deer at one point. No it has not. Hawks are too small and lightweight to kill even the smallest of deer. They may feed from deer carrion but will not actively hunt any of the native species of deer which are all much too large. Rabbit and hare being about the largest prey animals even a female Buzzard or possibly Goshawk (being larger than the male) will go for. (None of the falcons will)
We further hear that a hawk or falcon has taken a man's eyes out because he had some meat tied to his face. I suppose this is just about possible if not feasible. Raptors are trained initially to eat only from the falconer. They were in the days of this book manned by feeding them from the fist. The falcon,(I presume because the falconer was so upset when he had to pull it from the victims face and kill it) in question would have been an expensive Peregrine, Saker or Lanner. All birds suitable for a prelate such as the Archbishop of York (the rules for who could own what being very strict. He could not own a Gyrfalcon for instance or any of the eagles) would perhaps have fed on the carrion tied to the mans face, if nothing else was available.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marie-Antoinette Ferreira-Pursley on 2 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First she's in love with Hubert, then Riveria. Ulf is the long standing suitor. Not so pure Hidilgard. Loved it anyway but it is sad.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jill Hubbard on 18 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So good to have a woman of action as the central character, someone who makes decisions and takes risks. Refreshing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gillian berry on 14 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found it to be very interesting book . Especially the use of herbs to keep them healthy and to kill .
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cornish girl on 3 Feb. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good tale from start to finish. Have read a few of these and will be trying more in the near future.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Smith on 20 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read and enjoyed the other three tales of the abbess, I got this one as soon as I saw it was available. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the book (as with the others) gives such a sense of what it must have been like to live at that time (I'm very glad I live now and not then). Given the ending of this book, I'm very much looking forward to the next installment.
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