Heart Of Ice (Hawkenlye Mysteries 9) Paperback – 26 Jul 2007
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Praise for the Hawkenlye Series (:)
This is no murder-by-numbers writer. What seems a fascinating subplot, about a forest poeople who adhere to the old pagan ways, gradually becomes central to the investigation. Clare draws utterly believable characters who have warmth and humanity . . . Don't let the fact that this is the sixth in a series put you off. But I bet, like me, you'll be ordering books one to five when you've finished. (Derby Evening Telegraph on A DARK NIGHT HIDDEN)
A worthy heir to Ellis Peters, though grittier, materialises (Poison in the Pen on FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON)
'Proof that a writer of medieval crime fiction can deliver something fresh' (The Times)
Cunningly shifting sympathies among virtually all the players, Clare spotlights first Helewise, then Josse, in a detecting competition that lifts the partners above their predictable gender roles ... immersing them in a suddenly engrossing tale. (Kirkus Reviews)
'A rich and compelling mystery' (Tangled Web)
They are actually rather good (Publishers Weekly on A DARK NIGHT HIDDEN)
Black Death is not the only killer in 12th Century Hawkenlye Abbey.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The year is 1194 and the winter weather is becoming increasingly bitter. A sick man is making is way to Hawkenlye Abbey where he hopes to obtain a cure for his illness by taking the Holy Water at the Abbey. In his delirium, the Virgin Mary appears before him, a miraculous sighting that is on a part with the sighting that led to the establishment of the Abbey. As the figure of a beautiful woman approaches the sick man he begins to pray, but she strikes him with a club and then rolls him into a ditch.
It is only when the winter thaw begins that the corpse is discovered. Everything points to the sick man being from France, as he has papers on him and tha Abbess asks Sir Josse d'Aquin if he can decipher them. Meanwhile the two travellers who found the body fall ill and the sickness bears a strong resemblance to the plague . . .
A sick man travels to take the healing waters of Hawkenlye Abby but is murdered and thrown into the pond which turns to ice. When the monks discovered his body, it is also discovered he carried apothecary herbs. While Sir Josse d'Acquin, at the request of the Abbess, searches for the young man's identity and murderer, more sick arrive at the Abbey. The plague has come to Hawkenlye and the only help may come from Joanna of the Forest People and the powers of the old religion.
Despite my normal distain for prologues, this one was fascinating and a compelling lead into the story. And this was, for me, a story that had highs and lows.
Among the highs was Clare's description of how the plague traveled from Africa to England. I felt that was exceptionally well done. She also conveyed the limitations of medical knowledge, described care given during the period, although I suspect the Abbey was more advanced in their practices than common; and the devastating impact of a contagion.
I return to Clare's series for the characters as well. Helewise and Josse are central to the story and the respect and non-spoken, non-physical love between the two characters is beautifully drawn. However, Clare doesn't leave the rest of the characters standing in the shadows; she brings them forward, fully-drawn and important so that we are affected when things happen to them.
While I enjoy an element of the paranormal and appreciated learning what had happened to Joanna, Josse's former love and mother of his child, the time spent with her did, for me, slow the pace of the story and take me away from my main interest. But that's just me.
I very much enjoyed the book.Read more ›