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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 March 2001
The setting is at the beginning of Richard the Lionheart's reign, when Richard is seeking to endear himself to his rather reluctant subjects. As an act of clemency, he releases prisoners from jail. But it seems to be backfiring on Richard - a series of murders starts near the the abbey of Hawkenlye, which is ruled by Abbess Helewise, a confidant of his mother, the redoubtable Queen Eleanor. Local opinion is that the murders were committed by released prisoners. But is it so? Richard sends Josse d'Aquin, a knight from his lands in France, to resolve the murders and restore hid good name. Helewise and Josse make an intriguing pair, with complementary characters, and the investigation proceeds to its rather unexpected conclusion.
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on 13 April 2001
A terrific novel. I can only ask why she is not more widely read!!
The characters are well drawn, and sir Josse and the Abbess Helewise make a great time. the historical detail is very accurate, and makes the story seem oh-so relistic.
The conclusion is unexpected, and the ending very sad.
I loved it. well done. Keep writing!!!
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Alys Clare has written many other novels under a different name. She is able to breathe new life into the medieval period. A period of history that many novelists take as their background subject. Alys Clare lives in Kent. This is the area in which the books are set.

When a young nun is found murdered, King Richard turns to an old friend, Sir Josse d'Acquin, to trace the killer. The knight has very little success until he meets the Abbess of Hawkenlye Abbey, Helewise. Her quick mind and powers of deduction are as good if not better than his own.

To try to win favour with the English people, his subjects, Richard the Lionheart has given amnesty to many of the villains cluttering up the jails. He has done this as an act of generosity and to try to get the people of England to accept a king who has hardly set foot on English soil. Abbess Helewise is a close friend of the King's mother, the redoubtable Eleanor of Aquitaine. And it is close to Helewise's Abbey that the murders are taking place. The local people are of the opinion that it is the thieves and cutpurses that Richard has released that are causing murder and mayhem.

Richard's act of leniency seems to have backfired on him and he is desperate to restore his good name, without incurring the wrath of the people and his mother, who thinks that Richard should spend more time in the country he rules.
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on 11 February 2014
After a long day at work this book delivered exactly what I wanted - the writing was good and whilst it wasn't the most taxing of reads I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I found the plot was well worked out, the characters were well drawn and it held my interest right to the end. I'd certainly recommend it and I'll be readig others in the series.
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on 16 April 2016
An enjoyable read. The author includes sufficient historical details to give a Sense of period. The mystery story bundles you along and the protagonists are likeable characters. I shall definitely read more. Great to have found another series of books to sinbk my teeth into.😊
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on 15 April 2014
The first story in a series. Could not put it down and look forward to reading the others in the series. For anybody who enjoys a medieval murder mystery I would recommend this book.
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on 17 May 2015
This is a wonderful book. I enjoyed reading this and will do again. A great read. Delighted with this.
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on 1 July 2015
Realy enjoyed the book. Wouldn't have chosen it myself. It was a book chosen @ our book club.
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on 28 April 2016
Fantastic book- great story beautifully written
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on 28 June 2015
Very good book. A nice and easy read.
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