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The Poison Maiden (Mathilde of Westminster 2) [Paperback]

Paul Doherty
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Dec 2007 Mathilde of Westminster 2

It's 1308 and England hovers on the brink of civil war. Edward II, his wife Isabella and the royal favourite Peter Gaveston Earl of Cornwall, have been forced to retreat to the King's folly. Just an arrowshot away lie the Great Lords and Philip IV of France, who are demanding that the Earl of Cornwall be charged with high treason.

Edward is trapped, and worse, he has learnt that Philip has the 'Poison Maiden' on his side, a formidable spy who did untold damage during his father's reign. As Edward tries in vain to unmask the identity of the spy, Mathilde, handmaiden to the Queen, also attempts to identify the source of this threat.

Soon the crisis spills over into violence. The Lords attempt to take Gaveston by force and the King and his Court, including Mathilde, are forced to flee. As the enemy closes in, Mathilde finds herself embroiled in a life and death struggle for the English crown.


Frequently Bought Together

The Poison Maiden (Mathilde of Westminster 2) + The Darkening Glass (Mathilde of Westminster 3) + The Cup of Ghosts (Mathilde of Westminster 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (13 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755328787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755328789
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The second compulsive novel set during the turbulent reign of Edward II featuring Mathilde of Westminster

About the Author

Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Amelrode TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the second of the Mathilde of Westminster's mystery. The first one being the "The Cup of Ghosts".

Mathilde looks back at her life in the service Isabella of France, the so-called She-Wolf of France, Queen Consort of Edward II. The conflicts the Queen has to face are at its height: conflict with France, conflict between barons and king, conflict within the royal family, conflicts with the Templar and All ripe to explode. But nothing is as simple as it first seems. Everywhere is double dealing and murders occur.... Mathilde is set to solve them and with that saving her Queen's life and her very own. There is great action, written with a great follow and above all it is gripping frompage one. As usual with Paul Doherty this is medieval mystery at its very best.

But there is more to it. As we know Paul Doherty has a long standing interest in the reign of Edward II and his Queen. His book "Isabella and the strange death of Edward II" is amazing and now he uses his knowledge -again - for this novel. Doherty re-creates a vivid and credible picture of life at the royal court and the life at the beginning of the 14th century. The historical details are accurate and impressive, but never overwhelm the narrative. He creates an authentic-feeling atmosphere.
His deep historical interest motivates him to explore the relationships of Edward II and his great love - not necessarily lover- Gaveston but as well of Edward and Isabella. In a novel he can express his views and impressions easier than via a "proper" book where proof is asked for.

Mathilde of Westminster, the main character, was in the first novel sympathetically drawn and engaging. In the second novel she gains more depth, her character develops.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner for the Author 2 Aug 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Paul Doherty is the consummate storyteller and whatever subject he happens to pick to write about the books and the characters within them seem to come to life. Be it medieval England or Ancient Egypt his grasp of the subject is always first class. He has written many, many books over the years and how he manages to achieve this and also have the full time job of a school headmaster beggars belief. I do not think I have missed reading one of his books and there really are a lot of them. But with hand on heart I can say that there has not been one that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. This novel is the second in the Mathilde series: It is Easter in the year 1308, Edward II will not part company with his favourite Gaveston. Edward's Earls and Barons meet. They want a Parliament to be called, but in truth this is just a ruse, what they really want is Gaveston. Edward knows that across the channel the French King, Philip IV is eager to muddy troubled water and has activated a spy known as "The Poison Maiden." Of course Edward's wife, Isabella is unhappy at the part that Gaveston is playing in her husband's life, but she knew about the pair of them before she married Edward and she is wily enough to know that if Edward is brought down she will automatically follow him. So begins Paul Doherty's latest book, full of mystery, murder and intrigue. The author's books are always good reading, this one is up there with the best of them.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Should be made into a TV drama 19 July 2009
Format:Paperback
This was a fascinating and illuminating page-turner of a book. The story lifts of the page and it gives a wonderful insight into this little-known stage in history. The historical detail was particularly impressive. I really think this would make a great TV series with Mathilde solving all sorts of political intrigues. Well worth reading and I look forward to more.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book 22 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One of Paul Doherty's best books but aren't they all. But read MAt of Westminster 1 first. The Cup of Ghosts
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5.0 out of 5 stars Who or what is the Poison Maiden? 4 Aug 2011
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The is the second of the Mathilde of Westminster novels, written by the prolific writer Paul (or P C) Doherty.

I enjoyed the first of this series; and felt that this one was actually better. Maybe the characters were a little more settled into their roles; things seemed to be more smoothly narrated, and the action was well-paced. One of the charms of this series is the detailed descriptive passages about the people, places, the castles, the streets, and the lives that people lived in the early fourteenth century. Certainly not a place I'd want to live!

The characterisations of Edward II and Piers Gaveston are not what you may expect if you have read mostly non-fiction around Edward's reign. But in these novels, they, and Isabella, as the key historical figures certainly, are well-presented. Also featuring in these novels are Philip IV of France (and his proxy henchmen), Templars, and ecclesiastical figures. So the novels are well-populated with diverse characters, many of them up to no good at all.

This is a really good adventure; an atmospheric read, a great story, and lots of think on as you close the last page. Highly recommended.
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