- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: ALLISON & BUSBY (27 Feb. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0749009624
- ISBN-13: 978-0749009625
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.4 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,302,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Parliament of Spies, A (An Abbess of Meaux Mystery) Hardcover – 27 Feb 2012
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'As exciting a find as C J Sansom' The Bookseller
Top Customer Reviews
I find it odd that Clark has such admiration for one of our worst kings and like the reviewer who found errors with the falconry aspect, I feel the need to explain.
After the success of putting down the Peasants' Revolt, Richard ii didn't do much to crow about. Richard was a vain, self obsessed youth who amassed huge wealth by fining and taxing the populace. The Hundred Years War, and the victories gained by Richard's father, the Black Prince, had provided great financial gains to the nobles of England and here is Richard trying to hand back land to the French. Peaceful, you may think, but then he marches 14,000 men into Scotland at enormous expense. Richard surrounded himself with religious imagery and lavish symbolism, thought he was divine and from all accounts, didn't quite grasp the concept of leadership.
John of Gaunt, contrary to the image Clark conjures, was Richard's main support. His experience and statesmanship held the monarchy together. It was only when he was out of the country, that Richard's reign fell apart.
That deals with Clark's odd choice of monarch to champion. The story, however, is so mystifyingly convoluted that I almost lost track. Characters are coming in from left field without explanation. Then she adds in love interests which seem to me, incongruous for a nun. Some of the narrative is adequately descriptive but often turns into a list of bullet points. 'A retinue swarmed into the palace. All the Yeomen were being inspected. One or two were singled out. The King's men went into the kitchens.' Hard to get much enjoyment out of reading lists of events.Read more ›
Clarks research seems from reading the past three novels to be on the button without distracting from the readability of the novel.
Having said this I now find myself feeling somewhat of a pedant. I am interested in falconry. Hawks, falcons and falconry are an integral part of the plot line in the latest mystery and yet Clark seems here to have done no research whatsoever. We hear that a hawk has killed a small deer at one point. No it has not. Hawks are too small and lightweight to kill even the smallest of deer. They may feed from deer carrion but will not actively hunt any of the native species of deer which are all much too large. Rabbit and hare being about the largest prey animals even a female Buzzard or possibly Goshawk (being larger than the male) will go for. (None of the falcons will)
We further hear that a hawk or falcon has taken a man's eyes out because he had some meat tied to his face. I suppose this is just about possible if not feasible. Raptors are trained initially to eat only from the falconer. They were in the days of this book manned by feeding them from the fist. The falcon,(I presume because the falconer was so upset when he had to pull it from the victims face and kill it) in question would have been an expensive Peregrine, Saker or Lanner. All birds suitable for a prelate such as the Archbishop of York (the rules for who could own what being very strict. He could not own a Gyrfalcon for instance or any of the eagles) would perhaps have fed on the carrion tied to the mans face, if nothing else was available.Read more ›
will definitely follow the series..expec t to be updated when more become available..
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found it to be very interesting book . Especially the use of herbs to keep them healthy and to kill .Published on 14 Mar. 2014 by gillian berry
Good tale from start to finish. Have read a few of these and will be trying more in the near future.Published on 3 Feb. 2014 by Cornish girl