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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
20
4.7 out of 5 stars


on 9 September 2017
As exciting and compelling as all the other books in this series
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on 2 April 2003
remember, please, this is fiction. It's made up, its a story. And it's a really wonderful one, too. Clare is such a great writer...her story moves so absolutely fluidly, and the writing is so clean and sharp. There isnt a word superfluous to the plot, and all the characterisations are acute, concise and sharp.
The two lead characters are a joy to read about. They're fresh, likeable, interesting... everything protagonists should be. PLus, its very interesting to learn something of Josses family, which freshens the plot up even more. The setting of the mystery is great, the switching from the Middle east to England to France and into the past really serves to set the pace running!
I would reccomend this fast, enoyable book to anyone who likes historical fiction, and a great story! This isn't ust my favourite historical series, but its also probably my favourite fictional series full stop... (well, it ties with Deaver's Rhyme series, i think). If youve not read these wonderfully written, wonderfully plotted novels, youre really missing out. But at least you have them still to savour!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 February 2003
When Josse d'Acquin receives a visit from Prince John and a group of his courtiers looking for a mysterious stranger named Galbertius Sidonius, he becomes suspicious. Why would the Prince go out of his way and come to Sir Josse's out-of-the-way manor, instead of visiting the nearby Hawkenlye Abbey, through which it is much more likely a mysterious visitor such as Sidonius would pass? Josse decides to visit the abbey to get his friend the Abbess Helewise's advice. Although, upon arriving he finds that she has troubles enough of her own: a decomposing body has been found in Hawkenlye Vale, and the death the man met was clearly not a natural one.
Before much investigation can be carried out, Josse receives another visitor: his brother Yves, who has crossed the Channel from Acquin in Northern France to seek Josse out. A mysterious visitor has been asking after their father Geffroi, dead for several summers. Josse, Yves and the Abbess are soon thrust into a mystery whose roots lay back as far as the Second Crusade, and that has to do with a strange jewel called The Eye of Jerusalem...
This is the fifth novel in Alys Clare's brilliant historical series set in and around the Weald of Kent. As in all her novels, the plot she presents if wholly original and completely refreshing. And, of course, thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is nothing short of first-class, and the further development of her characters and their relationships is excellent once again. Both the main protagonists are fully developed and wholly interesting personalities. (It is especially interesting in this book to learn more about Josse's family and its past.) My only criticism of THE FAITHFUL DEAD, and it is true of all five, is that they are not long enough!
And, as for historical detail, it's all so wonderfully unobtrusive. It's full of authenticity and atmosphere, and yet not once does it feel as if the reader is being assaulted with show-off period detail. Every word is germane to the plot. In my opinion, this is the best and most thoroughly enjoyable historical series being written today. I would recommend it not just to fans of historical novels, but to fans of all crime fiction. Absolutely wonderful.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 August 2006
Alys Clare's novels are like a breath of fresh air. I love medieval murder mysteries and there are certainly a lot of them about (thank goodness), but the authors books breathe new life into the period and her will they won't they situation with Helewise and Sir Josse, holds the reader's attention as well. Don't be swayed into thinking that these books are written with the female reader in mind. They are for everybody, young and old, male or female. Alys Clare lives in Kent where the Hawkenlye mysteries are set.

An old man, a pilgrim dies in Hawkenlye Vale. There is nothing suspicious about the death, or so it is thought. The man was gravely ill when he arrived. At home at his manor Sir Josse d'Aquin is perturbed when he sees a group of horsemen riding towards him. By their bright and expensive clothes he knows that they are wealthy and important men, but he is surprised to see Prince John in their midst. John is a man he has met before, but until now was in no particular hurry to meet again.

The Prince who is accompanied by his seer, is seeking news of a stranger, one Galbertius Sidonius. As soon as the party of men have left Josse heads for Hawkenlye Abbey to ask for assistance from Helewise, the Abbess, but finds when he gets there that the Abbess has her own problems. A naked decomposing body has been found. The body has been killed by an expert. This is victim of a drunk fight or village quarrel.

Josse and Helewise are drawn deep into a mystery that stretches back much further than the Second Crusade and there is a dark, macabre figure watching their every move.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2003
When Josse d'Acquin receives a visit from Prince John and a group of his courtiers looking for a mysterious stranger named Galbertius Sidonius, he becomes suspicious. Why would the Prince go out of his way and come to Sir Josse's out-of-the-way manor, instead of visiting the nearby Hawkenlye Abbey, through which it is much more likely a mysterious visitor such as Sidonius would pass? Josse decides to visit the abbey to get his friend the Abbess Helewise's advice. Although, upon arriving he finds that she has troubles enough of her own: a decomposing body has been found in Hawkenlye Vale, and the death the man met was clearly not a natural one.
Before much investigation can be carried out, Josse receives another visitor: his brother Yves, who has crossed the Channel from Acquin in Northern France to seek Josse out. A mysterious visitor has been asking after their father Geffroi, dead for several summers. Josse, Yves and the Abbess are soon thrust into a mystery whose roots lay back as far as the Second Crusade, and that has to do with a strange jewel called The Eye of Jerusalem...
This is the fifth novel in Alys Clare's brilliant historical series set in and around the Weald of Kent. As in all her novels, the plot she presents if wholly original and completely refreshing. And, of course, thoroughly enjoyable. The writing is nothing short of first-class, and the further development of her characters and their relationships is excellent once again. Both the main protagonists are fully developed and wholly interesting personalities. (It is especially interesting in this book to learn more about Josse's family and its past.) My only criticism of THE FAITHFUL DEAD, and it is true of all five, is that they are not long enough!
And, as for historical detail, it's all so wonderfully unobtrusive. It's full of authenticity and atmosphere, and yet not once does it feel as if the reader is being assaulted with show-off period detail. Every word is germane to the plot. In my opinion, this is the best and most thoroughly enjoyable historical series being written today. I would recommend it not just to fans of historical novels, but to fans of all crime fiction. Absolutely wonderful.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 March 2007
Alys Clare's novels are like a breath of fresh air. I love medieval murder mysteries and there are certainly a lot of them about (thank goodness), but the authors books breathe new life into the period and her will they won't they situation with Helewise and Sir Josse, holds the reader's attention as well. Don't be swayed into thinking that these books are written with the female reader in mind. They are for everybody, young and old, male or female. Alys Clare lives in Kent where the Hawkenlye mysteries are set.

An old man, a pilgrim dies in Hawkenlye Vale. There is nothing suspicious about the death, or so it is thought. The man was gravely ill when he arrived. At home at his manor Sir Josse d'Aquin is perturbed when he sees a group of horsemen riding towards him. By their bright and expensive clothes he knows that they are wealthy and important men, but he is surprised to see Prince John in their midst. John is a man he has met before, but until now was in no particular hurry to meet again.

The Prince who is accompanied by his seer, is seeking news of a stranger, one Galbertius Sidonius. As soon as the party of men have left Josse heads for Hawkenlye Abbey to ask for assistance from Helewise, the Abbess, but finds when he gets there that the Abbess has her own problems. A naked decomposing body has been found. The body has been killed by an expert. This is victim of a drunk fight or village quarrel.

Josse and Helewise are drawn deep into a mystery that stretches back much further than the Second Crusade and there is a dark, macabre figure watching their every move.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 January 2009
First Sentence: Josse d'Acquin stood with his manservant, Will, looking gloomily out over the meadow which, last night, had contained the household cow and her calf.

Two travelers come to the healing waters of the Vale at Hawkenlye Abby; an old man and his young servant. The old man dies and the young man disappears.

Several months later, skeletal remains are found on the Abby grounds. Meanwhile, Sir Josse d'Acquin received a visit from Prince John and his sorcerer, John Dee, wanting to know whether Josse has received a visit from Galbertius Sidonius. The name is unknown to Josse but his search leads him home to France and back into his father's time with the Crusades.

I like this series better with each book. The relationship between the Abbess and Josse has such respect and caring of dear friendship. Josse's returning home and our learning of his family adds to his dimensionality. The members of the Abby and Josse's household provide reality and depth.

I enjoy that the books are set, and take advantage, of a time when people both believed in the Church, yet the old faith still played an important role. There is just enough mysticism to appeal to those of us who enjoy it but not so much to cross the story into the absolute realm of woo-woo.

The history is fascinating, although I question the role of John Dee about whom I found reference in the 1500-1600s, but not earlier. Still, as a character, he adds a wonderful element to the story.

This is my favorite book of the series thus far and I'm looking forward to reading the next.
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on 8 May 2012
Sir Josse D'Acquin is tracked down to his English manor of New Winnowlands by none other than Prince John, seeking information on a stranger known as Galbertius Sidonius. He has in his retinue a man just as mysterious - known as the Magister - whom Josse senses sees more than most. Then his brother Yves arrives from France, to tell Josse of an old man and his servant who've been looking for him across the sea...
Meanwhile, at Hawkenlye Abbey, Abbess Helewise is called to lay to rest an unknown murdered man, stripped bare and stabbed near her sacred place of worship in the Vale. Somehow, these two incidents will join Josse and Helewise again, in a series of events begun by Josse's father Geoffroi back in the Crusades, when he saved the life of a young Muslim boy and unwittingly earned the reward of a mystical, powerful jewel known as the 'Eye of Jerusalem'...

Once again, Alys Clare treats us to a medieval mystical mystery, this one slightly different in that we are taken back to the Crusades with Josse's father Geoffroi for quite a while before we return to the present murder mystery story. Leaning heavily on magic and sorcery, this to me becomes more mystery adventure than murder mystery, but I still enjoyed the story and the strong relationship between the great characters of Josse and Helewise.
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on 16 November 2016
This is another fabulous story intricately told that grips the reader who is transported back through the centuries to find themselves in the quiet confines of the Abbey. One follows through the daily pattern of work and worship until its peace is broken by exciting events!
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on 24 February 2013
I enjoy the adventures of Sir Jos and the Abbess of Hawkenlye, even though I am not quite sure that their close friendship is quite permissable. Still that adds a bit of spice. They solve the most convoluted crimes with apparent ease and provide a thoroughly good read.
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