The Lammas Wild (An Aelf Fen Mystery, 10)

Written by Syrell Rogovin Leahy
Review by Mark Spencer

The Lammas Wild is book ten—the concluding volume—to the Aelf Fen Mystery series that began a dozen years ago with Out of the Dawn Light (2009). The year is 1100, and the healer Lassair, our lead character, is returning home to the English countryside following her long exile in the mountains of northern Spain, where she trained under Luliwa and made an enemy of Luliwa’s daughter, Errita. Who awaits her return in fenland England? There is her mentor Gurdyman; Jack Chevestrier, a man she loves, who is now Sheriff Chevestrier; and, of course, Lassair’s beloved father, mother, siblings, and extended family. Soon, we are introduced to Eleanor de Lacey, as well to a secret Saxon chest, left to Lassair by the deceased Rollo Guiscard. What of its contents? Gold, yes. But also secret documents, including one with the King’s seal? Murder is soon to follow, and Lassair’s skills are put to the test.

The Lammas Wild should not, of course, be missed by loyal readers of the series. And others will be entertained—for the uninitiated, a few scattered footnotes refer them back to earlier volumes—and learn bits about geography in and around Cambridge. In the background of the novel are King William Rufus (son of William the Conqueror) and his brothers, Duke Robert and Henry Beauclerc, along with the infamous Walter Tirel. But, some will find fantasy here too much outweighs history. This reviewer would happily trade several accounts of vivid dreams, recurring visions, trances, premonitions, shining stones, mind readings, ‘gut feelings,’ and the like, for a mystery more artfully unfolded and set within much more developed and convincing glimpses of 12th-century England.