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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 October 2015
13 C bawdy house next to a monastry but all in good taste. Fun. The madam is polite and clever
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on 14 July 2015
Enjoying these stories - another good series
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on 6 July 1999
In 1139 Madam Magdalena la Batarde runs the most discreet whorehouse in Southwark, England. Her aristocratic patrons enjoy the pleasures of Magdalena's girls in utter confidence. William of Ypres, leader of King Stephen's forces in the civil war against Maude, serves as Magdalena's protector. Her landlord turns out to be the king's brother, the Bishop of Winchester, irate with the monarch for not naming him the Archbishop of Canterbury. Winchester expects the pope to name him a papal legate.
A wealthy stranger visits Magdalena's house. When he departs to keep his appointment at St. Mary Overy, a prostitute finds his corpse. The ladies of the night find his pouch that he hid in their home. Inside the pouch is a papal bull that proves the pope named Winchester as a legate. Magdalena knows that if the pouch is found in their possession, they will be accused of the dead man's murder. She delivers it to St. Mary's and waits for its discovery. Winchester orders his most trusted knight Sir Bellamy of Itchen to locate the pouch and uncover the identity of the murderer. Bellamy's work necessitates him working close with Magdalena whom he does not trust in spite of their growing attraction for each other. They continue to place their lives on the line to see that justice is served.
Readers who enjoy a powerful historical mystery will be utterly be thrilled once they discover the works of Roberta Gellis, renowned for her historical novels. The story line of A MORTAL BANE shows how much research the author must have conducted so that readers can have a true feel for the Medieval era. The mystery contains a mystery within it that the audience will realize is well executed and fascinating to follow. Ms. Gellis has provided fans of Medieval mysteries with the first of what is certain to be a best-selling series.

Harriet Klausner
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on 19 August 1999
Mortal Bane has everything that Gellis's readers have come to expect: intricate ploting, wonderful sense of period, in-depth characters, lively action. Medieval mystery lovers have waited for a sleuth who is not a nun, or a herbalist, and Magdalene la Batarde provides a refreshing change. This mystery moves through ingenious twists and turns as Magdalene and her ladies, one blind, on deaf, and one "dumb," put on a five star investigation that solves the mysteries and saves their business. It's full of the period detail that makes historial mysteries such fun. Don't miss this one. It's a great read.
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on 17 August 1999
Roberta Gellis of the Roselynde Chronicles in a different guise! This is a mystery rather than a romance, but such a good mystery that I didn't care! I am reminded of the Brother Cadfael series on PBS with Derek Jacobi - I guess because of the setting. The book wasn't what I expected, but so very very good that I can recommend it anyway.
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on 16 June 2016
Set over a few days in the April of 1139, this book is an extremely satisfying murder mystery. From its very clever opening - the discovery of a recent murder victim by a blind woman who nevertheless recognizes him - the narrative surrounding that discovery swiftly and skillfully introduces the women of the Old Priory Guesthouse, their occupations, and the threats under which they constantly live. The murder investigation is enthralling, all the characters have distinct personalities, and both the political and religious intrigue are cleverly interwoven within the text, so that, like the descriptions of life at the time, the reader absorbs them, rather than having them pointed out in long lists, as with some other authors. My only gripe would be that, just as the book reaches its climax, that awful American phrase "I guess" is used, immediately followed by "I hurried right over", both jerking this reader back from 12th Century England. Oddly enough, the only 2 errors I spotted came at much the same time, with 'lime' for 'time', and 'wilting' for 'willing' - perhaps a compliment to the author's writing ability, that the proof reader was so caught up in the drama that the mistakes slipped by.
Throughout the story, the warmth and affection of the women, their vulnerability as whores, the complications of Magdalene's loyalty to her protector battling with her growing fondness for Sir Bellamy, the potential changes to the political world and the personal lives of all concerned, are so well-drawn that it would be impossible not to find out more about them all. It's just sad that there are only 4 book in the series.
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on 12 November 2014
Fantastic had me hooked from the beginning loved the characters gripping storyline . Wish their were more of them.
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on 27 June 2014
A thoroughly enjoyable read. Loved the thinking of the author, see, hear, speak no evil with her unusual choice of characters. The author has left plenty of opportunity to expand and develop the main characters in the book. I have already downloaded the second title in the series, hopefully it will live up to my expectations.
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on 28 March 2015
There are so many books of this genre that it takes a master to write something different and gripping. I don't think this was such a book. This tale, for me, was too rambling and the main characters just didn't take shape. They were just names on a page. I'm not encouraged to read any more of Magdalene
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on 28 July 2012
I always expect Roberta Gellis to be a good read and this one did not disappoint. With her output being fairly prolific and the numbers of them now coming on kindle, thank goodness for birthdays and Christmas.
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