Candace Robb has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently spending time in Scotland and York to research her books.
York is very close to my own home and many of the places mentioned in the Owen Archer books are still there to be seen and of course Archbishop John Thorseby is mentioned in the records of York Minster. All this adds spice for me and helps me to picture the time and events that took place. This is the fourth novel in what is proving to be a captivating series.
The year is 1369. Edward is King of England and the much loved Queen Phillippa lies dying at Windsor. Night on 200 miles north in the city of York the harvest has failed and the plague has returned. In the heavy atmosphere and the fear from the plague superstition grips the citizen of York. Rumours are spreading that the spate of deaths at St. Leonard's hospital are no accident.
Several of the "corrodians," elderly people who have paid a sum of money to the hospital to care for them until their death have died in suspicious circumstances. There has also been a number of thefts from the hospital. Sir Richard de Ravenser, master of the Hospital is well aware than a scandal could ruin the hospital and his own reputation also.
Anxious to get to the bottom of the matter he calls on the services of Owen Archer, a man who is gaining a reputation as a solver of mysteries. Owen is unwilling to get involved as he has his hands full helping his wife in her apothecary shop, which is being besieged daily by the people of the city seeking cures and preventatives to keep them free of the plague.