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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2012
I always enjoy stories from the Sir Baldwin series, but the last few entries seemed to be dominated by politics, instead of a mystery. But this story is more like the series of old, with some of the political context included but not overwhelmingly so. And I am pleased for although I was always quite interested in the context (and indeed it still is in here as well), I do feel that the story should focus more on the characters involved in the detective part of the story: the families, the motivations for murder, and so on. So to me, this return to a more mystery focused story is very welcome.

I did regret the rather drastic change in the character Sir Charles of Lancaster. Always ruthless and not afraid to kill, he has just turned into an ordinary thug in this story. This is not the man who grieved for the loss of his companion Paul in France, or who aided Simon and Sir Baldwin in other stories where he was shown as a hard man, but honourable. This last is sincerely compromised in this story although his loyalty to Sir Edward is laudable. But that he just randomly kills, and lets his men act as they do is totally contrary to earlier encounters!

Finally, I liked the ending. Sir Baldwin is getting old, so perhaps a new role for him might be a good thing. All specualtion of course, but a nice kind of cliffhanger was put in all the same. And wouldn't it be great if Simon could get prosperous one again in the future? We will have to wait and see!
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on 18 July 2012
I have read all the books in the series and have enjoyed all of them imcluding the ones that have more of an historical content than the charecters. This book however I felt was the best ever with a suprise ending and now cannot wait for the next one to be released
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on 19 July 2012
As usual, I won't write a *synopsis* as the publisher already has. Fellow readers want to know if someone liked the book and if it is worth trying. I could not wait until "City of Fiends" was available to me so paid the post fees to obtain it early. It was worth the extra cost! I confess that I was concerned about how aging main characters would hold up. I was, however, glad to see that they held up quite well and hopefully will do so in the future. I believe it was about six years ago that I found my first title in the series and was prompted to hunt down the earlier titles in the series not to mention other Jecks titles. Consequently, I have them all. Jecks is a remarkable author both in terms of historical research efforts and in the ability to create plausible and good stories inside of the historical framework used. He is truly remarkable on both counts and I admire his vigor and talent. I believe he holds himself to high standards of writing. At least, that is what I perceive. I will not criticize how he handles some characters as all characters have a bit of good as well as bad in them. Sometimes, the scale tips more one way than the other. That being said, I can't wait until the next Jecks title in or out of this series! Addendum: I purchased the hardcover edition as it is worth saving!
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on 23 August 2013
I have read all of the Knights Templar series with varying degrees of pleasure - mostly good be it said - over the years, but to my mind this is the best of them. The pervading feeling and subject matter is much darker than any of the previous books, which gives it a strikingly different and individual atmosphere. The plot is complex but not in a manner that confuses the reader; indeed the structure and narrative writing is so beautifuly crafted that it is hard to put it down, the end of each section pulling the reader into the next one. That will happen next? You really want to find out! The suggestion at the end that Baldwin intends to retire as Keeper of the King's Peace is thankfully tempered with the hint that he may be offered a different post. If this book is to be the end of the series, then the series ends on a high note. But I for one hope for more excellent novels with the same main protagonists even though their circumstances may change.
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on 19 January 2013
Just when you think things can't get any better in a series of stories another one comes along and you are swept away by the masterful plot in the grande scheme of things and in the specific story. A masterpiece of historical crime fiction.
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on 25 December 2012
I hadn't read one of Michael Jecks' books for a few years, but picked this up as I had greatly enjoyed his earlier ones. I wasn't disappointed - Michael has a great knack of describing a scene without ever being long winded. Everything is to-the-point and it makes for a story that flows along fluidly and entertainingly without ever feeling like a chore to read. It's the type of book you can pick up and put down at a whim, if you like, but you'll more often than not find yourself enjoying it so much you'll read a chapter or two more than you'd planned.
I'm not sure if these particular characters can go on for much longer, as they're getting long in the tooth, but, in this story at least, they're still very roadworthy.
Where Michael Jecks goes after this will be very interesting, and I'm very much looking forward to it!

Steven A. McKay, author of Wolf's Head (The Forest Lord) and The Wolf and the Raven: 2 (The Forest Lord)
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on 20 June 2012
Have read every book in this series and they just get better, enjoy all the history but it's good to have more about the characters and less about politics, although I appreciate why that had to be in the last few books. Loved the ending which was totally unexpected, can't wait for the next one.
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on 19 July 2012
I was happy to find this author who seems to have written many books some time ago. I'm on about the fifth story. The stories are about two unusual crime solving partners: one a friar the other a hard drinking and eating fat coroner.
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on 30 January 2015
What can I say? Michael Jecks takes you back to the dark ages with a realistic view. Men were men, women were women, the church was the Church and the Law then was the Law. Life was basic.

He gives you an inviting insight to what it must have been like to live during those times - no benefits, starvation and land work or to attach yourself to a local Lord - to wealthy ignorance and intolerance of the poor.
I can only describe Michael Jecks as a fantastic read - I have all of his books! He has the most medieval inside I have come across as a fictional writer, and for that I am truly appreciative. He does touch on the Templars, but not to a mystic view, but rather with a more realistic rather than a romantic view. The Templars were warriors after all - check your history.

If you want to know the story of Baldwin and Simon then continue to read Michael Jecks. I can offer no further accolade Jecks is as spot-on as you will find in modern writing.
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on 10 July 2013
Another excellent historical whodunit from this series. Well crafted and believable. If you like the period one not to miss
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