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4.5 out of 5 stars42
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on 26 May 2015
Obviously an American author who is familiar with Sir Bernard Knight's John de Wolfe and decided to try her hand at a similar character in the same situation ie the appointment of Coroners during the reign of Richard 1. Any attempt to try to use medieval dialogue by an American writer seems doomed to criticism because they can't avoid modern terms. I have found this to be true with the many I have read in recent years. Throwing in a few "morrows" "thrices" and "thees" and "thous" just won't do it unfortunately and the actual research is flawed sometimes quite obviously so. Terms like "shuck", I lit out of there", city center" and "he cursed his bum foot" are but a few examples. One author actually had his peasants growing squash in England in Alfred the Great's time. See what I mean? That being said ...there was a pretty decent story there. It's a shame these Americanisms ruin it with a jolt that takes the reader straight out of the tale and back into the now. Proofreading properly would certainly help.
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What an absolutely wonderful reading experience this book was for me. I read lots and lots of mysteries, trying to choose historical pieces when possible. This is the first historical mystery written by Denise Domning, though not her first published novel. As evidenced by this book, I think she is quite an accomplished author. I absolutely loved the fact that she had her characters investigating almost the entire time span of this book. So often novels set in this time period (twelfth century England) get bogged down in details of what life was like. I am thrilled to say there was not one recounting of a chamber pot being emptied over pedestrians as they walked along the roadway, no privy or latrine descriptions, and no rats running across people as they tried to sleep. Mentioning those items isn't a bad thing, fixating on them happens all too often in some books and that can simply ruin that book for me.

I think it was very clever of Ms. Domning to allow the reader to learn the duties of The Keeper of the Pleas, coronaries, or crowner along with a twenty-four year old penniless second son just back from the crusades, Sir Faucon de Ramis. This way Brother Edmund, a Benedictine monk acting as legal scribe, can acquaint the reader as well as Sir Faucon with laws and rules of office without the information seeming to be pulled directly from research books. Brother Edmund and Sir Faucon are called very quickly to investigate the death of the miller in a nearby village and arrive just in time to keep the sheriff of the shire from declaring the death an accident. Upon close investigation it is shown to be much different than an accidental death and having far reaching consequences.

This is the first novel in a series and there is a story going on in the background which is not resolved, but will carry over into another book. This wasn't presented so much as a cliffhanger as a method for showing that Sir Faucon's work regarding what is happening in this small community is not entirely settled yet. This first novel was so impressive it makes me want to be sure I'm ready to read any future books which follow in this series.

I received an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own.
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on 2 March 2014
As a long time fan of Bernard Knight's Crowner series I approached this book cynically. How can any writer, particularly an American, hope to equal these books? Well, I am here to admit that I was wrong. I was enthralled from the start by the two main characters especially the monk. My only criticism is the American spellings and phrasing but after a while I stopped noticing - an unusual occurrence for me and a complement to the author. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
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on 22 February 2014
Anyone who has read and loved the Crowner John series will welcome this new series by Denise Domning . This is a well written story with twists in the tale that left me guessing till the end. I look forward to more in this series. This is so different from her medieval romances the seasons that I also enjoyed very much but I look forward to meeting more of the characters from the seasons in this great new series of hers.
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on 6 April 2015
People seem to have forgotten the series about another early coroner, Sir Baldwin Furnshill by Michael Jecks. Season of a Raven is a worthwhile read by a capable enough author. The detail is reasonably well researched - although possibly a little light on history - and the plot satisfying. Sir Faucon hasn`t got the humour or presence of Crowner John - who is a great character - nor the determined nobility of Sir Baldwin but doesn`t suffer too much for that and I anticipate the protagonist`s character being developed in further books. The only annoyance is the use of modern American grammar, spelling and phrasing which are occasionally uncomfortably inappropriate...... and at times just plain silly. Especially as a first book in this genre by the author, Season of a Raven definitely merits recommending. I would rate the book 7/10 if Amazon had a more sensible rating system but won`t knock it down to 3 stars because it`s better than that. A very welcome addition to the genre and I look forward to further books in the series.
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on 20 March 2014
.Quite a nice little tale with good characters in it. What spoiled it for me for the pseudo medieval language and the annoying American spelling of words which just didn't fit with the 12th century. A lot other writers of this era use modern language with no adverse effect.
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on 29 August 2014
Having read Denise Domning's books before I was pleased to find this one in a five part 'box-set' on kindle. I have read and enjoyed the Crowner John books by Bernard Knight and wondered if this would compare. It does, and very favourably. I do like Ms Domning's use of archaic language and enjoy adding new words to my vocabulary. I also enjoyed the inclusion of characters from the Seasons series and look forward to reading more of this series too. The only downside for me is American spelling in a book set in 12th Century.
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on 22 March 2014
The bar has been set very high by the Crowner John series and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this book had solid historical detail to back up a well-plotted storyline. However, pseudo-medieval terminology (such as using the term 'twain' every so often) interrupts the flow of the text and gives the unfortunate impression that the author is floundering, as well as being intensely irritating.

I did enjoy the book, and liked the lead characters, so will be watching out for the next in the series.
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on 21 April 2015
Pleasantly surprised at this book. Having read loads of historical books, both fiction and non fiction, I came across this book by accident really. It flowed easy enough and I guess because of the period, it did seem very straightforward and lacking a bit in real mystery and suspense. However, I would try other books by the same author. Quite a good read but at the moment the Tudor period can't be beaten.
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on 19 July 2014
I really enjoyed this book, having purchased it because I have previously enjoyed the 'Crowner John' books. This is in a similar vein. I liked the characters who populate the village in the story - they're humorous, greedy, jealous and compassionate. In other words, just like people now! Which is one of the reasons why the book works. I look forward to another adventure in this series.
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