The Devil to Pay
Alice Kyteler has become a wealthy woman due to a combination of four fortuitous marriages and sharp business practices. Unfortunately her ambitions have made her many enemies, especially the families of her respective late husbands. Richard de Ledrede, an English Franciscan, scholar, poet and now bishop of Ossory, is determined to restore clerical power in the town. To do this he deliberately challenges the power of her lover Sir Arnaud le Poer, who is seneschal and lord of South Leinster. Using the threat of excommunication as powerful weapon against the opposition of the local nobles, the Bishop unleashes an accusation of witchcraft against Alice Kyteler and her maid Petronilla, the child of a local shoemaker. Outside the city the local Norman nobility are in conflict with the native Irish, restless after 150 years of dispossession, while the English court is engaged in almost continuous warfare.
This is a riveting tale which brings alive the life and times. The characters are well drawn and vibrant. The twist at the end of the story is very satisfying, if a little predictable. High quality writing makes this a novel to read, enjoy, and then read again. Highly recommended.