Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: England, 1326
First Sentence: Her nightmare always began in the same way.
This novel is the 31st in Jecks Last Templar Mystery Series.
This story takes place near the end of the reign of King Edward II. King Edward has had a troubled reign. The issue has been his poor choice advisers. Specifically, his adviser and special friend Sir Hugh le Despenser. Sir Hugh has been extremely cruel and avaricious. Yet he has had the love of the king. Edward has given Sir Hugh everything he has wanted. Edward's Queen, Isabella, hates him, as do the majority of the nobles of England.
In this novel, Edward and Sir Hugh are on the run. Queen Isabella has invaded with an army of mercenaries. Each day, more and more nobles join the Queen's horde. Our two main characters, Simon Puttock and Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, once again find themselves embroiled in the affairs of the King, the Queen and Despenser. They are torn between their oath to support the King and their hatred of Sir Hugh.
Sir Baldwin and Simon find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. Sir Baldwin is supporting the King, while Simon finds himself entangled with the Queen's supporters. The majority of the novel follows Sir Baldwin and Hugh as they witness the great historical events of their times. Intertwined with the story of the King and Despenser there is a murder, and a mystery to be solved.
Jecks uses a large cast of characters to tell his story. I was a little confused at the beginning, trying to keep track of them. We do not get around to the main characters until page 69. Jecks does provide a list of characters, yet he uses many characters who are not listed.
For me, I have been looking forward to this book for a long time. Despenser has been a troublesome character for at least the last six novels. The mystery was a small part of the this novel, and I had identified the murderer pretty early on.
I enjoyed the book. Jecks writing style makes for a nice easy read. His novels are well researched and follow actual events. I recommend this book as a good read. I suggest that you read the novels in order.
The Last Templar - The first book in the series.
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