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3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - Is no one trustworthy?, 13 Jan. 2010
L. J. Roberts (Oakland, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Coiners' Quarrel (Hardcover)
First Sentence: Sir Geoffrey Mappestone was furious.

Sir Geoffrey and his companions were in Southampton, finally on their way back to the Holy Land, when summoned, at sword point, by the soldiers of King Henry I to return to London. Taking time for Geoffrey's temper to cool, they are on a pier at the Thames when Geoffrey's dog startles a man who runs off. Upon investigation, they find a corpse and a bloodied rock the man had been holding. The corpse is identified as a Saxon moneyer--someone who owns a mint--and one of two groups accusing each other of devaluing the King's currency, which could result in a rebellion to overthrow Henry.

Beaufort/Gregory is one of the best at depicting this period with accuracy and without sentiment. The clergy range from the sacred to the profane; medicine is primitive, hygiene is virtually non-existent, superstition is rife, remaining bitterness between the Saxons and Normans and, for Sir Geoffrey, no one can be completely trusted.

Sir Geoffrey is a character I very much like. He is an educated knight who fought in the capture of Jerusalem and learned there was very little that was holy about the holy war. Yet he knows he is no farmer and only desires to return to his overlord, Prince Tancred

His following includes squire, Durand, also known as "Angel Locks," is very light of foot and will do anything to not return to Jerusalem; Helbye, with Geoffrey since Geoffrey was a lad but is now getting too old to continue with him; his friend and fellow knight Roger who doesn't believe in reading but is Geoffrey's trusted friend, as long as nothing of value is around and Roger's man Ulficth. There are a great many characters involved in the story and each has a very distinct personality.

Beaufort's writing is highly descriptive and filled with historic information, but is never dry as there is also wonderful, subtle humor.

The story is a bit slow at points and I did anticipate one major element, but there were exciting skirmishes and narrow escapes. The end depressed me a bit in that almost everyone, except Geoffrey, proved untrustworthy in some way, but I also suspect that was not unusual for the time.

I look forward to more Beaufort/Mappestone books.

THE COINERS' QUARREL (Hist Mys-Sir Geoffrey Mappestone-England-1109/Middle Ages) - G+
Beaufort, Simon (aka Susanna Gregory) - 5th in series
Severn House, 2004, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 0727861093
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The Coiners' Quarrel
The Coiners' Quarrel by Simon Beaufort (Hardcover - 7 Jun. 2004)
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