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Posted December 21, 2005
A good, though imperfect, start to the series
This is my first foray into book-length, medieval detective fiction, which I will admit is quite a change of pace from what I normally read. I got it for $2 at a book fair, though, so I couldn't argue with the price. The story revolves around a young nun who is found dead, and due to her wounds and her state of undress when discovered, it is assumed that she has been raped and murdered. The new king of England has just released prisoners as a magnanimous gesture, and the king is eager to ensure that it wasn't one of the newly paroled malcontents that did it, as that would reflect poorly on the King's judgment. Therefore, our man of action, Josse d'Acquin, is sent to the abbey to investigate. As expected, things do not go as initially thought... This was an entertaining read. The book is well-written, and does a perfectly serviceable job of introducing the main characters and bringing out their personalities. The author could have played more on Josse's alien status (he's French, in England about 100 years after the Norman conquest), but that doesn't really ever come into play. I also could have used some more descriptions of what life was like in the mid to late 12th century, as that isn't exactly my main area of expertise, but I guess in a book not too much over 200 pages, when you have multiple deaths to resolve you don't have lots of time to get into the details. So, bottom line, a very enjoyable book that could have been improved by some additional detail. For an initial story, though, it was quite good and if I see other books in the series I will give them full consideration.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
Excellent Medieval mystery
King Henry I is dead and his wife Elinore of Acquitane is freed from jail. Everyone in England awaits the arrival of the new King Richard from overseas. As a gesture of good will and to demonstrate to the common person that he is the ruler of all of England, Richard grants clemency to the prisoners in the country¿s jails. Initially, the people applaud his bold move until someone kills a novice at Hawkenylye Abbey. The people believe one of the newly freed individuals is accused of committing the crime. <P>An irate Richard dispatches one of his knights, Josse D¿Aquin, to investigate the murder that could topple his reign. Josse immediately concludes that the assailant arranged the crime scene so witnesses could claim the novice was robbed and raped when in fact, the victim was neither. Josse joins forces with Abbess Helewise in an attempt to uncover the identity of the culprit before the Holy Spirit of the Abbey is destroyed forever. <P>Readers will relish the arrival of a new crime-fighting duo on the scene especially Josse, an intellectual warrior who uses his brains to solve a crime. Though his belief that women are his equal seems a bit of an anachronism, Josse and the Abbess work so smoothly together, readers will give credence to his faith in the abilities of females. The Abbess is an enlightened thinker who is not afraid to dirty her hands by becoming involved in the secular affairs traditionally handled by males. These characters, a well designed who-done-it, and the pageantry of Medieval England turns Alys Clare¿s FORTUNE LIKE THE MOON into a fabulous historical mystery. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.