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on 28 June 2017
I love all Doherty's books and although I haven't had time to read this yet, as I am in the middle of another /doherty book (!) - I am sure I will like this one. Unfortunately, the order got duplicated, so I received two copies, so I guess it will go to the charity shop.
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on 11 September 2017
I have read most of Paul Doherty's books and enjoy them very much. He wears how scholarship lightly, but describes medieval life and politics with great precision.
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on 4 May 2017
A good read interesting as to how Gaveston was so disliked !
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on 9 June 2017
Boring, gave up on it
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on 27 May 2017
Intrigue, mystery and all the suspense of a master chess game. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend that you read it!
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on 10 August 2017
fantastic read really enjoyed it wish there was more in the series
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VINE VOICEon 27 April 2009
I suppose this is 35 book by Paul Doherty I have read. So you gather that I am quite a fan of him.

This is the number 3 in the Mathilde of Westminsiter series. He combines here his interest in the reign of Edward II and the Templars. Eventough this new mystery is a part of a series it can stand alone and the reader does not have to read book one and two in order to follow the story.

The story is set in 1312: a year of high drama at the royal court of England. The leading barons are in rebellion against King Edward II and his great favorite (or lover) Gaveston, the Earl of Cornwall. The year ends with the excecution of Gaveston. At the same time the prosecution of the Templars by the King of France is in full swing. Mathilde is the trusted servant of Queen Isabella of England, Princess of France. It is a dark period, glumy and full on intrigue. Indeed a period when the glass is darkening for the royal court.

As usual Paul Doherty re-creates the period and times to perfection. He indeed creates this dark, gloomy atmosphere. But he spends more time on descriptions than usual. This however leads to less action and often a action is interrupted by descriptions. This I found partly boring, party annoying. Sometimes he wanders off to areas which he obviously wants to show to the reader, but they do not really fit into the story and actually disrupt the narrative. The whole effect is that this new mystery by Paul Doherty is less gripping and less engaging. Only in the last chapters he catches up and it gets very interesting. However, one has to get there first and this is a bit of a struggle. On a positive note the personality of Mathilde develops more and more. She gains more layers. In sharp contrast to most other books by Doherty this is not a page-turner, not a book one can not put down before the end. Indeed one can quite easily. I sometimes wonder whether Paul Doherty simply writes too much and too many different series.

All in all,this is not a bad book, but it is not the best on offer by Dr. Paul Doherty.
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on 21 June 2009
Despite the apparent lukewarm reviews it seems this book is still rated pretty pretty highly. I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it difficult to put down. I thought the plot was effective and building up into what will clearly be a long lived character and series (I hope), the mood is atmospheric and conjures up many visions of life in that period, short, nasty and brutish. Having a woman as a central character is slightly unusual for Doherty and, generally, for most novelists writing about this period, Jecks, Gregory et al but works well for me. Mathilde and Isabel come across as strong but still feminine - the next one is on pre-order but, just a warning, where some series novels (Lee Childs and Reacher) can be read as stand alone, I don't think this one can - go on, be devils, order all three - you won't regret it!
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This is the third of the Mathilde of Westminster stories - books set in and around the court of King Edward II of England, full of intrigue, plotting and planning, particularly by Edward's nobles against his favourite Gaveston.

In this book, it is March 1312, Edward and Gaveston's battle against the rebellious nobles is heating up to deadly levels, the Queen Isabella (Mathilde's mistress) is pregnant with the King's first child and potential heir. A volatile situation not helped by Robert Bruce in Scotland preparing to cause trouble in the north. Can the internal troubles be quelled, or at least held at bay, while the kingdom deals with the external threat? And what will Mathilde discover when murderers show their hand?

These books are great, as are pretty much all of Paul Doherty's historical novels, wherever and whenever they are set. The historical accuracy and research that has clearly gone into them is highly impressive; the atmosphere in these novels is dark and brooding; a real sense of menace hangs over the English court, and Mathilde, recounting these tales from her old age, banished by King Edward III has a real and cynical attitude to her life both now and in her younger days.

The story of Edward II and Gaveston, Isabella and the struggle for the English throne which ensues between so many disparate parties is a horrible part of English history; but wonderfully brought to life for the modern reader in these novels. I'm not sure if there are more Mathilde of Westminster novels out, but will have to keep an eye out for them. In the meantime, I'll be revisiting old P C Doherty favourites.
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on 16 October 2009
What is most apparent is the amount of historical research which Paul Doherty carried out, and it is not surprising that he obtained a doctorate degree for analysing this turbulent period in English history and inspired him to write this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone having an interest in the reign of Edward II.

It is well-written mystery and I found it difficult to put down as I eagerly awaited Mathilde's conclusion to the complexities and dangers that she and her companions faced.
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