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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Elixir of Death (Unabridged)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 30 August 2007
I have to concur with J. Chippinadale regarding the quality of Bernard Knight's writing. As far as the Crowner John Mystery Series, I believe that I have all of the series at present as well as a few others. While I enjoy my academic readings, one must have their murder mystery to enjoy too and these are so well written and historically detailed you just can't wait until the next in the series is released. As a matter of fact, I have gone to purchasing from amazon.uk because publishers for Knight and others such as Michael Jecks seem to enjoy not releasing titles in the U.S. until months after releas in the U.K. It is quite unfair to have to wait so long for something so good.

By the way, service to the U.S. by amazon.uk is excellent! I must thank them for their customer service.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Crowner John or to give him his correct title, Sir John de Wolfe, is one of my all time favourite characters in medieval mysteries and if you read or are going to read this or any other of Bernard Knight's Crowner John Mysteries, you will probably understand why.. Dour and more than a little fierce looking but totally honest and incorruptible and a staunch follower of King Richard the Lionheart. He is the total opposite of his brother-in-law the Sheriff of Exeter, apart from the fact that the both have an eye for the ladies.

Prince John is continuing to plot the seize the throne of England away from his brother Richard and he has a staunch and influential ally in Philip the King of France. Philip offers to help solve Prince john's financial problems by sending him an alchemist who claims to be able to transform base metals into gold. But both the ship the alchemist was on and all of the crew are found ship wrecked and murdered off the Devon coast.

Later a knight living close to Exeter is found murdered under mysterious circumstances. It's up to the Crowner to piece the puzzle together are two deeds connected and what is his brother the Sheriff and a staunch supporter of Prince John attempting to hide?

I don't think that Bernard Knight has written a bad book, certainly not in the Crowner John series and this one certainly lives up to expectations. I loved reading it.
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Tenth in the series, Crowner John more than ever put to the test. His marriage to Matilda remains a disaster, hated by them both. Hilda, first love of his life, has just been widowed. Will he be tempted? If so, what of Nesta at The Bull Inn?

Meanwhile Moors have entered Devon with sinister intent - many deaths to follow, some with mutilations that turn the strongest stomachs....

Reactions to this latest novel are mixed, reservations because of the overload of detail which so slows the story's development. Here any real action is confined to the last few chapters. Always Bernard Knight seems too keen to ensure any new reader is fully in the picture. Fans are thus repeatedly subjected to the same information in book after book. Knight concedes this must frustrate, the glossary lengthened in consequence. (At this late stage in the series one wonders about the proportion of new readers compared with addicts.)

Attractions this time round? Many will warm to Hilda, she immensely resourceful and clearly a force to reckon with. Admirers of humble conscientious clerk Thomas will find a certain development of particular interest.

Interesting too is the Historical Postscript, Bernard Knight explaining how the bitter split between Moslems came to be - the outcome so devastating to this very day.

What then for Sir John Wolfe himself, he such a strict enforcer of the law? Will he for once need to be economical with the truth, mindful that full circumstances of what happens here are best never revealed?

Much to intrigue, but I empathize with those wishing a faster pace.
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on 9 November 2013
Crowner John Series are set in the time of King Richard and are possibly the first Official Coroners Court in England. They are books which are easy to read and enjoy. The characters are the same throughout making it easier to know who is who and what part they play in the story..
A very good read
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on 4 February 2013
I love the John Crowner books and had read reviews on The elixir of life' saying that this wasnt one of his best books. I disagree I have just finished reading it and couldnt put this book down it was so good, in fact I would say it is one of the best in this series that I have read.
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on 2 April 2013
These are great books, which I've been following from the first book working my way through the series. This book is as good as all the others I've read. It has a great plot and story, which is well crafted. If you are a fan of medieval mysteries then this is one for you to read.
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on 11 October 2014
A really great read. Full of life, and a real feel of Medieval England. You can almost smell the bad state of the drains and gutters!
Very well researched.. as are all of Bernard Knight's books about Crowner John.
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on 8 September 2014
I liked the cover, but it turned out to be unreadable. I hadn't the slightest idea what was happening, who was doing what or why I should care.
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on 30 June 2011
It's a quick easy read, does no more, no less, than that. I enjoy these Bernard Knight books for that very reason
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on 8 April 2014
I bought this book for someone else. They said that they liked it. one two three four five six seven.
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