Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: England, 1326 - 1327
First Sentence: Matteo di Bardi hurried up the lane.
This novel is the twenty-eighth in Jeck's Knights Templar mystery series.
King Edward II of England has been deposed. England is in turmoil. Some want to return Edward to the crown because he is God's anointed king. Some want his son to be crowned the new king. Many are angry at Edward because of his relationship to Sir Hugh le Dispenser. And some are looking to enrich themselves by gaining control over the king's gold.
As this novel develops, Jecks introduces a large cast of characters. There are the Florentine bankers who are trying to appease both sides of the conflict. Then there is the henpecked carter and his shrewish wife. Also, there are several knights and men-of-war who want to free Edward and return him to the crown. And there are those who wish to end the wars and bring peace to England.
The novel follows the various characters. Eventually, the plot brings them to Berkley castle where Edward is imprisoned. Along the way several of Jecks' newly created characters are murdered. There is not much mystery to these killings. We know or can quickly deduce who the murderers are.
The main characters of the series, Sir Baldwin and Simon Puttock, do not make their entrance until the eighth chapter. They are mostly concerned with protecting Edward.
In my opinion, this novel is not a mystery. It is a well written historical novel about an interesting time in English history. I was disappointed that Sir Baldwin and Simon had such small roles in the plot.
The introduction of so many new characters made the beginning of the novel a little hard to follow.
I enjoy Jecks' writing style. So I enjoyed reading this novel. I think a reader new to this series might enjoy this book as an introduction to the series since it does not rely much on the action in previous novels.
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