This is the latest of a number of Sorrowful Mysteries books featuring Brother Athelstan and the Coroner, Sir John Cranston, and his never empty wineskin. The Devil's Domain (Sorrowful Mysteries of Brother Athelstan) (Book 1, 1998)
. The author is very prolific and has now written over a hundred novels, some under various pseudonyms. No mean achievement, and more importantly his prolific writing does not seem to affect the quality of his work in any way. He has for a number of years been an established author of medieval novels and has also added a number of novels on Egypt to his ever growing list of titles. The Hugh Corbett mysteries were and are extremely popular and Paul Doherty has found another winner with this series, featuring Brother Athelstan as the main character, ably assisted by Sir John Cranston.
The plot takes place at the time of the Peasant Revolt, Wat Tyler and all that. A period of English history that had been festering for years and finally came to a bloody culmination with the deaths of many of the country's leading citizens and the destruction of their goods and property.
The plot of this book revolves around the fact that it has come to the attention of John of Gaunt, Regent to the young King Richard, that a book containing the secret formula of a devastating weapon, Greek Fire, has disappeared and John of Gaunt tells Sir John to involve Brother Athelstan in the task of recovering it before it falls into the wrong hands. In particular the Upright Men, who are involved in fomenting the rebellion, who could use it with catastrophic effect.
The author tackles this storyline with his usual aplomb, and his many followers will enjoy this one just as much as those that have gone before. Reader's new to Paul Doherty (are there any?) will soon become hooked and start looking for earlier books in the series.