on 8 January 2003
The Cross Legged Knight is the latest Owen Archer mystery and did not disappoint. The plot revolves around a family who have lost a husband/father in custody in France and the Bishop who was supposed to be negotiating his release, and is full of intrigue and well as having many twists to the story.
Candace Robb brings her characters to life with such an intensity that you come to know them as well as your own friends and really care what happens to them, as well as bringing to life vividly the medieval world they live in so well that you can really imagine being there and experiencing how they lived their lives.
On top of that she is an excellent storyteller, from the very start you are caught up in the world of Owen Archer and his friends, family and enemies and once started it is very difficult to put the book down until you reach the end, and then you want more.
As well as telling a good story, Robb incorporates actual historical facts into the books, so the reader will always go away knowing a lot more about the medieval period and how people lived and earned their livings, as well as including an explanation at the end of any details she feels you may need more information on.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime and mystery stories, particularly when set in another era.
As I only live 20 miles from York where most of these books are set, I can perhaps visualise better than most the area of England the books take place in. Many of the streets of York mentioned in the books are still there and of the course so is the Minster.
Owen Archer the lead character in the book is a Welsh longbow man who works for a high church dignitary and spends some of his spare time helping in his wife's apothecary shop. He is called upon by William of Wykeham, the Bishop of Winchester, to help him with a serious problem. I myself am interested in this period of English history and the author's authenticity cannot be questioned and her excellent story telling is spellbinding. [...]
It’s the eight episode for Candace Robb’s quintessential medieval spy Owen Archer and
neither the author nor the character seems to be slowing down.
Archer, the trusted one-eyed spy for the Archbishop of York, is once again thrust into the
maelstrom of deadly struggles between the Lancasters and the Church. What is a spy,
married to York’s only female apothecary, to do?
Whatever direction he choose, he’s bound to find a puzzle. For one, the Bishop of
Wakefield has created a situation that could plunge the country into a civil war. Through
the bishop’s apparent bungling, a trusted friend to King Edward III and knight of the
realm has been captured by the French and before a ransom could be negotiated, he dies in
prison. His widow, the Lady Pagnell, holds the bishop fully responsible and wishes to
extract her own pound of flesh (to borrow from Shakespeare some two hundred years
While in York to try to smooth things over with the Pagnell family, the bishop finds his
own life in danger. Coupled with what appears to be attempts to assassinate him, murder
is discovered when a fire goes up in flames, leaving the victim inside. Thus, Owen Archer’s
sleuthing skills are called in. Owen’s wife Lucy, the co-protagonists of Robb’s series, has
recently had a miscarriage and her recovery, both mentally and physically, is taking its toll
on the Archer household. The woman murdered had been responsible for helping Lucy in
her recovery and both Lucy and Owen feel driven to find her murderer.
And, of course, the hunt is afoot and with Robb’s usual good skill, York is eventually given
the solution. But before the murderer is revealed, Robb has a story to tell and, once again,
she does it with exciting readability. Weaving quite effectively history with fiction, the
Robb stories appeal to both historians and whodunit readers. Her ability to capture the
landscape and atmosphere of 14th century England is noteworthy and her plot designs well
worth the time.
on 11 July 2002
This installment of the Owen Archer series is one of the best that I have read. Owen is back in York with his family including his apothecary wife, Lucie and the characters show incrasing depth in their relationships with one another. The multiple plots are very cleverly connected and logically solved. The details involving the care of burn patients at the time was particularily interesting to me. I stayed up most of the night to finish the book and could not put it down.