A Friar's Bloodfeud Paperback – Jun 5 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Despite myriad characters and rapid, often cumbersome scene changes, Jecks's 17th medieval historical (after 2005's The Butcher of St. Peters's) paints a vivid and bloody panorama of Edward II's "war-scarred kingdom." In 1324, rival landowners battle for property and power, and Keeper of the King's Peace Sir Baldwin de Furnshill is reluctantly drawn into the conflict when the family of his neighbor, Hugh, a humble moorland shepherd, is found butchered and burned by unknown assailants. This tragedy follows the rape and torture of Lady Lucy of Meeth and her servant, leading Baldwin to suspect the involvement of ruthless Hugh Despenser (an ally of the king) and his fearsome steward, Sir Geoffrey Servington. Opposing this land-grab by Edward's surrogates is a third Hugh, Lord Hugh de Courtenay, also with powerful allies in knights Sir Odo de Bordeaux and Sir John Sully. Nervously observing all this carnage is shadowy renegade Friar Humphrey, who's ostensibly caring for an elderly priest, but is caught in a dilemma of his own making. Despite multiple subplots, Baldwin's perseverance leads to a just resolution.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Nicely detailed and tightly argued, with involving and memorable characters. The whole series belongs in any collection wherehistoricals are popular."See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The two main characters in the books are Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Bailiff Simon Puttock. Sir Baldwin is an ex Crusader knight, who has managed to escape the wrath of the French King who ordered the destruction of the Order and all of its members.
Sir Baldwin is now the head of the family manor after the death of his brother and is also Keeper of the King's Peace in Devon.
Word reaches Simon that a gang of men have broken into the house of his servant Hugh and attacked the family. When Simon reaches the cottage he find it burnt to the ground and the bodies already buried. It would seem that Hugh must have perished in a dreadful accident, but Simon and Sir Baldwin begin to suspect that there is much more to it than that
As events turn out, Hugh's death is apparently wrapped up in the ongoing duel of wits between two competing manors. Discovering just who the murderers are and how the whole puzzle falls together takes up the book's 500 pages, a task not made easier as bodies pile up.
A FRIAR'S BLOODFEUD is vintage Jecks. His ability to construct intricate storylines that have the reader frantically turning page after page, his wide-ranging knowledge of medieval England and, most importantly, his ability to construct multi-dimensional characters are all in evidence.
As much as I have enjoyed the 'Knights Templar' series, I also find myself coming away from the stories with new insights about humanity circa 1300. Reading A FRIAR'S BLOODFEUD left me appalled at the casual brutality with which the 'haves' of medieval England treated the 'have nots.' Though they were knights, the conduct of the two opposing masters of Fishleigh and Monkleigh was reprehensible but probably typical of those times.
In any case, Furnshill and Puttock triumph in the end but you'll have to read A FRIAR'S BLOODFEUD to find out who did it and why. Along the way, you'll be treated to another marvelous, insightful and wonderfully entertaining journey through medieval England. Highly recommended.
This one is special because the mystery itself takes center stage. It can be solved before it is revealed, but I bet you won't get it.