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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Death of a Squire by Maureen Ash

Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: England, 1200AD.

Since the DaVinci code came on the scene, the Knights Templar have been the subject of many historical novels.  Many of these novels focus on the destruction of the Knights Templar by the King of  France and the search for the Holy Grail.

Maureen Ash's novel is the second in her Templar Knight Mystery series.  Her novels are set in the early 1200s, about  100 years before the fall of the Templars.  Her main character, Bascot de Marins is a Templar Knight.  He is newly returned form the crusades.  Upon his return he discovered that his entire family has died, leaving him alone.   During the battles of the crusades, de Marins had been captured by the enemy.  He had suffered torture and had lost one of his eyes.  While returning to England, de Marins had acquired a servant, Gianni, who is a mute.  Bascot's order has sent him to Lincoln to rest and recover his physical and mental health.

While at Lincoln, de Marins has proved himself helpful as an investigator of untimely deaths.  In this novel, the castle of Lincoln is expecting a visit from King John in a matter of days.  A squire is found hanged in the nearby forest.  As de Marins investigates, he discovers that the squire is disliked by his fellow squires, and by many of the local lasses.  A rumor surfaces that the dead squire may be linked to a possible revolt against the king.  De Marins needs to solve the mystery and refute the rumor before the king arrives.

During the investigation, Gianni is kidnaped by local outlaws.  This leads Bascot de Marins to question his vows as a Templar Knight, and explore his paternal feelings toward his young servant. 

I enjoyed this book.  Ash's writing style moves the plot along and provides just the right amount of description.  She tangles the plot in a way that keeps you guessing until the end of the story.  I am planning on reading more books from this series.

Death of a Squire

The first book in the series, The Alehouse Murders

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