on 14 June 2009
This is a captivating story, Candace Robb maintains her high standards with a real page-turner. I have read all her previous Owen Archer books and this is another delight. The characters are so well described that you care what happens to them. The books also have the effect of making you feel you are living in medieval England while you are reading, so vividly does her picture of everyday life come across.
Ok, I'm coming at this from a point of view that will probably infuriate a lot of fans of Candace. I haven't read any other books in the series so its with a relatively fresh point of view to which I write my review.
Candace without doubt is well versed in the 14th century with the details that are passed on within the texts informative, interesting and above all done in such a way that there is no info dump as happens too often in many books. She's also skilled in putting a tale together in a manner where its not easily predicted by the reader along with the twists and turns unveiled over the course of the investigation undertaken by the principle protagonist who is an interesting character to be around, the fears and emotional aspect works very well allowing the reader to establish a hook with Owen and allows the reader to feel the cold knife edge at every bit of peril, caring about the life expectancy of a number of the characters within the text. I will definitely keep an eye out for more of Candace's work and will at some point, when time allows, read the rest of the series.
Candace Robb has read and researched medieval history for many years, having studied for a Ph.D. in Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Literature. She divides her time between Seattle and the UK, frequently spending time in Scotland and York to research her books. She is the author of the best selling Owen Archer series, set in medieval York in the third quarter of the 14th century. A place quite close to my own home. I have read all of the books and find them fascinating.
For those unfamiliar with the Owen Archer novels, as the name suggest Owen is a once Captain of Welsh Archers. He has only one good eye, the other being removed by a woman of ill-repute, but that is another tale. He is now the captain of the guard for Archbishop Thoresby, the Archbishop of York. Owen is married to Lucy, who owns an apothecary shop in York.
Owen's master, the Archbishop lies close to death and Owen is determined that Thorseby will be peaceful. However Thorseby has agreed to a visit from Princess Joan, who wishes to take advice from him regarding the royal succession. However things are never that simple and within minutes of the royal party arriving it becomes apparent that a servant who apparently had an accident and subsequently died, was in fact murdered. This is just the start of a plot that begins to thicken with every hour. The servant may be the first to die, but he certainly will not be the last . . .