The Last Duel
A few days after Christmas 1386, a crowd gathers at a Paris monastery to watch two men fight to the death in a judicial duel. Jean de Carrouges and Jacques LeGris, one a knight and the other a squire, had once been fast friends. Now LeGris is accused of raping Carrouges’s beautiful young wife, and the two men must engage in mortal combat, allowing God to prove whose cause is just. But more is at stake than just the lives of the combatants. If LeGris loses or confesses, he forfeits his reputation and his life; but if Carrouges is killed, his case is proven false and the chief witness in that case, his wife Marguerite, will be burned alive for perjury.
Though it reads like a thriller, the fact that this work is nonfiction makes the material even more compelling. Jager gives just enough background about the law and social mores of the Middle Ages for the reader to understand the subtleties of the events, without slowing down the nail-biting tension created by this well-written, gripping story. The reader won’t be able to put this book down until one of the combatants lies dead upon the field.