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The Cup of Ghosts Paperback – 5 Dec 2005

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (5 Dec. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755328744
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755328741
  • Product Dimensions: 15.1 x 23.2 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,684,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

The first in a new series by the acclaimed author Paul Doherty, featuring Mathilde of Westminster and played out against the glorious, violent and decadent court of Edward II where ghosts throng, and old sins and innocent blood cry to heaven for vengeance.

About the Author

Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.


Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Paul Doherty is one of the most prolific authors I have come across. His output is quite amazing. Eventough I find it more amazing that he keeps the standards high and always fulfills expectations. "The Cup of Ghosts" is no exception.
The reader finds himself at the court of Edward II. of England, properly one of the most controversial monarchs. Paul Doherty has a long standing interest in the reign of Edward and his Queen. His book "Isabella nd the strange death of Edward II" is amazing and now he uses his knowledge - again - for a novel. With the first page one is drawn into the murky politics of 14th century England by meeting Mathilde of Westminister, the lady in waiting and confidante of Edwards's Queen Isabella, better known as the She-Wolf of France. She is looking back on her life with the Queen and royal life and politics.
As usual P. Doherty has created a vivid and credible picture of life at the royal court. The historical details are accurate and impressive, but never overwhelm the narrative. He creates
an authentic-feeling atmosphere.
His deep historical interest motivates him to find solutions to long-standing historical mysteries or to find the motivtion behind significant events. A writing a novel is a great methode as he can express his views and impresssions easier than via a "proper" book where proof is asked for.
Mathilde of Westminster, the main character, is sympathetically drawn and engaging. Mr. Doherty has the talent of turning his characters into "the reades' friends" and one wants to learn more about them. The "Cup of Ghosts" is a great start for a new series featuring Mathilde of Westminister. I enjoyed every page and I am already looking forward to book No.2 with Mathilde.
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Format: Hardcover
Mathilde of Westminster was a woman born out of time; she was a physician and an alchemist who learnt her art from her Templar Uncle who was savagely murdered on the orders of the French King who coveted the wealth of the Templar's.

Hidden from the wrath of the King by a close friend of her Uncle right under his very nose as the lady-in-waiting to Princess Isabella, who was to marry the sexually ambiguous Edward II, she was reluctantly drawn into the dangerous political life of the English court, where death was only a heartbeat away.

The book actually starts at the end of Mathilde's like when she is living in solitude as a nun, the glory and decadence of the life she saw and even partook in is long gone and all that remains are memories and secrets that could still bring England to her knees.

Mathilde looks back over her many years as the "She Wolf's" (as Queen Isabella was known as) constant and loyal companion and in written code chronicles her turbulent life and times and the things she did in the name of love, politics, and revenge.

Mathilde's keen eye along with her brilliance for understanding symptoms and causes and not just those of a medical nature gives her the skills and ability to survive in a precarious world where life sits on the knife edge of King's cruel whim.

Mathilde's superior intellect helps her distinguish between an accident and murder and when she is confronted by a catalogue of seemingly unconnected murders, along with attempts on her own life she realises she must unravel a puzzle that goes right into the heart of French and English royalty.

Cup of Ghosts is a beautifully written novel, bringing fact and fiction together in a believable story of murder, intrigue, desire for power and passion in a time when violence and murder was a way of life.
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Format: Paperback
There are very few authors who can even come close to matching Doherty in the writing of this kind of historical novel. His obvious knowledge of the subject and his feeling for the period of history he is writing about shines through the pages.

This book is centred around the reign of Edward II, a violent and decadent period of English history. The lead character is Mathilde of Westminster, who was thought of at the time as one of the leading physicians in the whole of the city of London.

She had spent many years of her life as lady-in-waiting to Isabella the wife of Edward II, a monarch who could be both generous and cruel. Sudden death was part of the everyday life of the English court and Mathilde is inevitably drawn into the politics and intrigue of the world she lives in.

In later life Mathilde looks back and recounts her turbulent past. A host of murders and danger confront her, most of it brought about by the continual rivalry between Edward of England and Philip of France.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Paul Doherty is an extremely prolific writer of medieval (and Egyptian and Roman) whodunnits under various author's names. As such, his books have a certain style. The main protagonists are generally fairly forthright and observant in the times in which they live. For the reader, this means very well-written and detailed descriptive passages of the places, times, and way of life of the characters in the stories. To me, this is one of the charms of his books. While the books are generally whodunnits, it's not, for me, so much the arrival at who did all the bad deeds, but the journey to get there which engenders the enjoyment of the books.

In this book, the descriptions of life in Paris and France at the time of Philip the Fair and the persecution of the Templars, seeing Nogaret in action; and then the action moving to England with Edward II, Gaveston and the various nobles and their political struggles, brings to life all the dry history books which I have read over the years and adds flesh to the historical bones which we read about in non-fiction history books. Doherty is a master at this, and the reader is drawn into the atmosphere of the novels in a fairly unique way.

As always for Doherty's writings, this book is intriguing, fascinating and enjoyable all at once. The story is fast-paced, the characters larger than life (and some nastier than most), and the action well written and satisfying for the reader.

Highly recommended.
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