In 1326, King Edward II of England was faced with civil war. His wife, Queen Isabella, had returned from France and demanded the jailing of his advisor, Sir Hugh, because she felt the advice he was providing the king was ruining the country and their relationship. In order to protect his advisor, the king mobilized his nobles to defeat an army led by the queen and her exceptional general, Sir Roger Mortimer. Both armies converged on Bristol, near the border with Wales. Torn between their loyalties to both monarchs, our protagonists – Sir Baldwin and his friend Simon Puttock – become involved in the investigation of the murder of an entire family in Bristol. Were these murders related to the ongoing conflict, and who is responsible for the senseless killings that took place under the backdrop of the ensuing civil war?
Michael Jecks is a prolific writer of 14th-century English mysteries. I have read other novels in his series of medieval mysteries and have found them enjoyable. His knowledge of this time period and the customs and history of England is commendable and adds realism to the plot. The period and characters come to life and are well thought out; his writing is exceptional in the various twists and turns required to pull off a first-rate mystery while writing of the conflict between the two monarchs. I highly recommend this novel to those who enjoy reading about this time period and also enjoy a good mystery.