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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 December 2003
There are two basic rules to life: The best clothes can be bought in charity shops, and the best books rarely find their way to the bestseller lists. These are universally true, the latter in particular. While the bestseller lists are littered with James Patterson books, the real gems don't even make a dent. (Look at Ruth Rendell for example; her latest brilliant novel, The Rottweiler, didn't even dent the lists, despite her immense reputation.) This is, largely, i think because the public are not aware of the best fiction, because publishers don't promote it! Heaven knows why. This marvellous series is a prime example. Of all the myriad historical crime series' currently being produced, Alys Clare's Hawkenlye is head and shoulders above the rest, by far and away the best.
A Dark Night Hidden is another absolutely lovely novel. It is clever, intelligently and beautifully written, historically unobtrusive but nonetheless fascinating in its detail, plotted masterly, and is full of warm - and sometimes not so warm - characters who ooze humanity and reality. They are full and engaging and delightful to read about. This is most true of her two protagonists, Josse d'Aquin and Abbess Helewise, immensely likeable characters, with a warm and compelling relationship. In this book in particular, Clare makes their religious and moral conflicts deliciously compelling.
The plot is, once again, original and refreshing. These books are traditional historical mysteries, yes, but they are also stretched by far beyond that for the fact that Clare rarely takes notice of boundaries, and as a result her plots are always different and interesting. There's something so sprightly about her writing, too, that makes the plots race along with excitement.
To all fans of historical mysteries, this series is FOR YOU! DO not pass it by. For established fans of the series, this book is just as marvellous. Every year i look forward unspeakably to when i am able to order the latest Alys Clare book (of course, once again due to shameful publisher-promotion, they never actually appear in hardcover in bookshops) and begin on it. They are all satisfying, rewarding, and horribly short! She leaves almost all her rivals in her wake.
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Alys Clare's Hawkenleye series revolve around her two main characters Sir Josse d'Acquin and Helewise, abbess of the Hawkenleye Abbey.
Sir Josse is spending Yuletide with relatives he has not seen for many a long year when news reaches England that the Lionheart has been captured by his enemies and a ransom most be raised to free him from their clutches.
Sir Josse believes that Queen Eleanor is bound at some stage to call at Hawkenleye Abbey which is one of her favourite religious houses and decides to call there on the way back to his own manor and seek out the Abbess, who herself is a friend of Josse. Perhaps he will be able to get some first hand information about what is to be done to free King Richard.
The Abbess Helewise is however having problems of her own as a sadistic new priest has arrived to administer to the spritual needs of the Abbey.
Josse and Helewise are soon embroiled in more than one murder by people who are no friends of the church in general and Hawkenleye Abbey in particular.
Sir Josse and Helewise are given an excellent and friendly relationship by the author, with undertones that something more than friendship is never far away.
This series of books are excellent.
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First Sentence: The spiteful wind of a bleak, icy February blasted down the muddy track and around the sparse huddle of buildings as if it hated the world and everything in it.

Father Gilbert has broken his ankle and a substitute priest has been sent. Father Micah's fanaticism has won him no friends. However, it wasn't expected to find his body lying in a ditch. A man speaking a foreign language begs help of the Abbey of Hawkenlye. The woman he carries has been severely whipped and her forehead branded.

From Gervase de Gilfford, in the service of Richard FitzRoger de Clare, Sir Josse d'Acquin learns the two people were part of a group of Cathars traveling through England. Josse and Gilfford seek to find the rest of the group and the killer of Father Micah.

Catholics, Cathars and pagans, what a great combination. I actually like a bit of woo-woo and, in this time where some did still practice the old ways, it worked for me.

Helewise and Jose are wonderful characters and never more so than in this book. Their friendship is strong and an important element of the story. Each had a question of their faith versus morality. It was handled very well. There are some wonderful supporting characters, particularly Father Gilbert and Gervase de Gilfford, of whom I hope we see more.

Clare always creates a very strong sense of time of place. I particularly like that her dialogue provides a sense of the period without being over the top. The story was very well plotted, although you did have to wonder at the alternating POVs. I should have known to trust Clare in that she always being the story together and always ties up all the loose ends

This is a great series; a pleasure to read, and one with which I shall definitely continue.
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on 1 March 2013
I bought this for my dad who likes crime novels such as the Cadfael series. I had previously read them and found them to be really good. My dad also enjoys them and this was no exception. The adventures Josse and Abbess Helewise are gripping and enjoyable to read
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Alys Clare's Hawkenleye series revolve around her two main characters Sir Josse d'Acquin and Helewise, abbess of the Hawkenleye Abbey.

Sir Josse is spending Yuletide with relatives he has not seen for many a long year when news reaches England that the Lionheart has been captured by his enemies and a ransom most be raised to free him from their clutches.

Sir Josse believes that Queen Eleanor is bound at some stage to call at Hawkenleye Abbey which is one of her favourite religious houses and decides to call there on the way back to his own manor and seek out the Abbess, who herself is a friend of Josse. Perhaps he will be able to get some first hand information about what is to be done to free King Richard.

The Abbess Helewise is however having problems of her own as a sadistic new priest has arrived to administer to the spritual needs of the Abbey.

Josse and Helewise are soon embroiled in more than one murder by people who are no friends of the church in general and Hawkenleye Abbey in particular.

Sir Josse and Helewise are given an excellent and friendly relationship by the author, with undertones that something more than friendship is never far away.

This series of books are excellent.
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on 30 September 2013
This authoress is a very good read in the Hawkenlye series. Once started they are difficult to put down. Excellent
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on 20 August 2014
This was a good read .I do enjoy historical murders & mysteries and I find the Hawkenlye series worth reading.
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on 20 December 2014
I love these books I hope to get all the rest on kindle
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on 21 January 2016
Alys Clare always delivers a good read.
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on 26 May 2015
brilliant series
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