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In Penman's third polished medieval mystery (after 1998's Cruel as the Grave), her dedicated and resourceful hero, Justin de Quincy, tries to recover, quite literally, a king's ransom in coffers of precious metals and bales of wool, which are as valuable as gold, that have been stolen in northern Wales. It's 1193, and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine fervently needs to ransom her eldest son, Richard Lionheart, from the Holy Roman Emperor before King Philippe of France can interfere and her younger son, John, can seize the crown. Justin proceeds into the thickets and wild forests of Wales, where he's deeply mistrusted both as an Englishman and an outsider. He must penetrate abundant Welsh intrigues and deceptions in order to discover the treasure as well as solve murders and comfort bereaved lovers. Despite a large cast of characters from every social class, Penman keeps them all clearly distinguishable. Her familiarity with Cheshire and Wales is evident in her descriptions of the terrain and verdure, while her use of modern language, with only an occasional "for certes" to remind readers of the period, makes the story a pleasure to read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Adult/High School--In this sequel to The Queen's Man (Ballantine, 1998), Dowager Queen Eleanor is desperately trying to rescue her son Richard Lionheart, imprisoned by the Holy Roman Emperor. Meanwhile, her youngest son, John, plots to ensure that his brother never leaves prison alive. Justin De Quincy, the illegitimate son of the Bishop of Chester, is sent to Wales by the queen to recover one of the ransom payments, which has mysteriously disappeared. It was primarily in the form of fine Cistercian wool sent in wagons under guard to Chester. De Quincy investigates the theft and delves into the labyrinthine politics of Wales. Davydd, a prince of North Wales, claims the payment was stolen and the guards slain. Using friends and contacts and his own wits, De Quincy comes close to tracking it down, and then becomes a target himself. Amid scheming, murder, and mayhem, he ultimately prevails. Medieval Britain comes alive in this fast-paced tale. Students of history and those just looking for a good mystery will be equally rewarded.--Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
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Sharon Kay Penman has again delivered another solid product in this book which again illustrates why she is amongst the best in historical fiction. Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2012 by Trevor B. Owen
This writer manages to absorb the reader in the historical period and brings to light kings, queens and those who serve them as well as the social history. Read morePublished on May 24 2004 by Valerie Fletcher Adolph
I am very impressed by all of Ms. Penmans' books that I have read. The sheer amount of historical research that goes into them is mind boggling. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by "raine533"
...and that's the fact that we've had to wait so long for this third installment in the series. It's wonderful...and I hope that Ms. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2004
While this book may be historically accurate, to me anyway, it amounted to a huge disappointment because I was looking forward to a very good read. Read morePublished on Dec 9 2003 by Peragulator
Ms. Penman's charaterization is as wonderful as always in this third book of Justin deQuincy. Even though she writes of a long-dead era and of historical figures, her characters... Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2003 by S. Schwartz
A year ago, I read Sharon Kay Penman's Here Be Dragons, and thought it was outstanding, and said as much in my review. Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2003 by Dan Dean