The Devil’s Cup

Written by Alys Clare
Review by Francesca Pelaccia

In this seventeenth and final installment of the Hawkenlye Abbey series, it is 1216 in England. Sir Josse D’Acquin finds himself on the road with his brother, Yves, and son, Geoffroi, to join King John and his supporters in thwarting an invasion from Prince Louis of France. At the same time, his daughter, Meggie, sets out on another journey with Faruq, a foreigner, in search of an evil treasure that he is forbidden to speak about, but which he needs to find to prevent some tragedy from happening. While Josse and Meggie are on their journeys, Helewise, Josse’s wife, nurses Faruq’s mother, who is delirious but also secretive about this evil treasure. Add Meggie’s lover, Jehan, who is on his own mission to assassinate the king, and you have the entire plot.

The prologue of The Devil’s Cup starts with a bang—the discovery of some evil object, which leads to several murders—but then nothing else happens which focuses on the object’s evil or which builds the mystery. Instead, the novel follows everyone’s journeys, which ultimately come to a head together. I wasn’t even aware that the object had been retrieved until it was revealed in the final chapters.

I have not read any of the other novels in the Hawkenlye series, but this final installment was thin in plot, thick with characters’ thoughts and fears, and lacking in any suspense.