Blood of the Fifth Knight

Written by E.M. Powell
Review by Ilysa Magnus

In this, the second in a series which began with The Fifth Knight (HNR 65), Theodosia, her now husband, Sir Benedict Palmer and their two small children are living an anonymous life in a small village. The last thing they need is to become involved again with Henry II and the conspiracies which seem to swirl around him.

At the scene of Henry’s penance to the martyr, Becket, they are, once again, dragged into Henry’s net. With Queen Eleanor being exiled to a nunnery, Henry is free to cavort with his favorite mistress, Rosamund Clifford. But Rosamund is in danger from an unknown enemy – and who does Henry trust to ensure that Rosamund is safe other than Sir Benedict?

Benedict is not the only Palmer in the line of fire, though, because, back in the village, Theodosia, alone with the children, is being targeted as a witch. Unable to get word to Benedict, Theodosia must fight the powers that be who, seek to destroy her, by herself.

Although both Fifth Knight novels are terrific, I think this is Powell’s better outing. There are two powerful storylines highlighting each of her protagonists’ strengths and which intersect with a plot or two from the previous book. Theodosia and Benedict are not merely attractive characters; they are intensely real people. The backdrop – both political and social – in which the two are functioning is true to time and place, and the historical figures are not just stick figures. This is a romp and a fun read.