The Book of Fires

Written by Paul Doherty

This 14th-century crime novel is the 14th book in the Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery series. A beautiful widow is horrifically executed for the murder of her husband. Soon those who played a part in her death are also being gruesomely killed. Brother Athelstan is dealing with his own problems. A seeming miracle is bringing a glut of pilgrims to his churchyard, as even more characters die. Could there be a connection to the unpopular John of Gaunt and the Peasants’ Revolt? Also in the mix is a lost, ancient book containing secret formulas for Greek fire. As danger comes closer to Brother Athelstan, he must try to find the killer, the book, and the reason why a miracle occurred (if it did) at St. Erconwald’s.

Fans of Brother Athelstan will want to read this complex, latest installment as a matter of course, although the resolution is a bit contrived and the tone very dark. New readers might want to start with the older books in the series to get to know this capable friar earlier in his career.