on 5 December 2000
Murders,affairs and politics, the story combined them all. Set in 1321 Sir Baldwin Furnshill and his friend Simon Puttock visit Lord Hugh De Courtnay. These are turbulent times, Edward II's favourite Hugh De Spenser has been exiled and there is the threat of civil war, between the King and the marcher lords. A messenger is sent to Lord Hugh De Courtnay to try and bribe him to support De Spenser. He is murdered with no sign of the bribe. Meanwhile other murders have occurred which appear unrelated to the messenger's murder. Sir Baldwin and Simon begin to investigate.
The plot is fast paced, with strong characters although some are more far fetched than others.The parthnership between Baldwin and Simon is convincing and the two come across as the long standing friends they are. There are a number of threads which are well sewn together by the end of the book. Although I did not guess the villian until he was unmasked by Baldwin and Simon I thought some parts of the story where predictable.This did not spoil my overall enjoyment of this book which transported me to medieaval Devon with it's local intrigues and national politics.
Michael Jecks gave up a career in the computer industry when he began writing the internationally successful Templar series. Well all I can say is the Computer Industries loss is the reader's gain. He has now written about a score of the Knights Templar mystery books featuring Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock and there are more to follow. Michael's books are full of intrigue and mystery and they are particularly well researched. Mr. Jecks lives in the area he writes about and I am sure this must assist him a great deal with his background research.
This is the ninth in this series of books and Michael Jecks is managing to maintain the high standard with all of them. In this books Sir Baldwin, Keeper of the King's Peace and his friend, Bailiff Simon Puttock those attending the midsummer feast at Lord Hugh's castle in Tiverton.
Trouble is brewing with Hugh Despenser the corrupt favourite of Edward II starting to attract many of the nobles to his cause and threatening civil war. Sir Gilbert de Carlisle, Despenser's ambassador to Sir Hugh is murdered while he is escorting a chest of gold to the king. Meanwhile the head and body of an outlaw called Philip Dyne are found nearby. The coroner states that Dyne killed Sir Gilbert and then two upright citizens beheaded Dyne as he was trying to escape. Sir Baldwin and Simon do not believe that the murder can be as simple as the coroner thinks it is.
on 27 February 2012
This book is one in a series by this author with the central characters Sir Baldwin, a survivor of the destruction of the Knights Templar, now the Keeper of the Kings Peace of Crediton in Devon and his friend Simon Puttock a commoner who has worked his way up to Bailiff of the Stannaries ( the mining area of Devon). In each book a mystery has to be solved using the very simple methods that would be available at the time (1300s). The author gives an insight to the way of life of the ordinary people, in such a way as to bring all characters to life and creating the visualization of each rather than as in many novels just the nobility.
Each book stands on its own merits with the central characters seeking the solution to the mystery with its twists and turns leaving the reader trying to pre-solve it. Usually, I discover an author by reading a novel part way through the series with Michael Jecks I found the first and have been glued to both each mystery and the flow of the central characters developments throughout the series. Michael Jecks has that unique talent of being able to build suspense and intrigue and inject humor into his books just as it is needed.
To go into much detail would spoil the flow for anyone who may read this, suffice it to say I would recommend both this book and the series to anyone who likes medieval mysteries and reading about medieval life.
First Sentence: In the servant's hall of her father's house in Tiverton, Joan Carter yawned and stretched.
England is in political turmoil and on the verge of civil war. Sir Baldwin Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock have come to Tiverton Castle for the feast of St. Giles. While there, they are called to the scene of two murders.
A young man, Dyne, accused of raping and murdering a young woman, had claimed sanctuary and was set on the road to leave England. His body has been found decapitated in the woods.
Sir Gilbert of Carlisle, an ambassador set to visit Sir Hugh at Tiverton, has been murdered along with his dog. Tiverton's Coroner is satisfied that Dyne killed the knight and was killed in turn for having left the road. Baldwin is not satisfied.
I love this series. The story is intricately plotted interweaving the role of politics and religion with personal stories and human foibles. The research is evident and history fascinating.
Baldwin is not always likable but his actions are appropriate for his background and position, yet at times he is the catalyst for humor. Simon, the practical man, is a perfect foil for Baldwin, the former Templar knight. I enjoy seeing Baldwin tempered by his recent marriage, yet miss Simon's wife Margaret, who has not been a part of this, or the previous, book.
Jeck's does use a bit of foreshadowing, which makes me crazy as it is so not needed, but I enjoy his writing, nonetheless. I am looking forward to Book 10.