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A Killing Season: A Medieval Mystery [Paperback]

Priscilla Royal
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 2011 Medieval Mysteries

When Baron Herbert returns from crusade he grows increasingly morose and withdraws from his family. When his sons begin to die in strange accidents, questions are asked whether Herbert harbors a dark sin for which God has cursed him. The baron suddenly sends for Sir Hugh of Wynethorpe, begging his friend to bring spiritual and secular healers. Sir Hugh persuades his sister, Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal Priory, as well as a respected physician, Master Gamel, to accompany him. Although Sir Hugh is pleased when the prioress brings her healer, Sister Anne, he is surprised to find the mysterious Brother Thomas included. Tensions spark among family members and soon ignite too among those who came to help. Death's scythe harvests more victims, and it is not long before Ecclesiastes' grim words seem all too apt: there is a season for everything under heaven, including a time to kill. Is there also a time to heal?


Frequently Bought Together

A Killing Season: A Medieval Mystery + Tyrant of the Mind + Wine of Violence
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.78

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  • Tyrant of the Mind CDN$ 11.51
  • Wine of Violence CDN$ 20.76

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Product Description

Review

Royal’s 13th-century mysteries are always full of historical detail..."—Kirkus Review 

"Rich atmosphere and well-drawn characters make this a superior historical."—Publishers Weekly starred review

"With its intriguing plot, chilling conclusion and characters who exhibit universal and timeless feelings, this fresh first has all the potential to evolve into a series as enduring as Ellis Peters’s Brother Cadfael books." —Publishers Weekly starred review of Wine of Violence

"Against an authentic backdrop of medieval life and lore, Royal once again brings alive characters who are true to their period yet exhibit emotions and feelings that 21st-century readers will recognize as their own." —Publishers Weekly starred review of Forsaken Soul

"The author subtly treats the erotic charge surrounding Eleanor and Thomas while shedding light on 13th-century understandings of sexuality. Royal draws together the murder, the manuscript and the ghost in an unexpected conclusion."—Publishers Weekly starred review of Justice for the Damned

"Royal’s attention to historical detail and skillful creation of a sinister, chilling atmosphere makes her latest in this series a treat for all mystery readers."—Booklist

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Priscilla Royal is the author of the medieval mysteries Tyrant of the Mind and Wine of Violence. She was born in Seattle, grew up in British Columbia, and now resides in Northern California. She is a member of the California Writers Club and Sisters in Crime.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good medival mystery. Oct. 28 2011
By Jill Meyer HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Priscilla Royal's series of Medieval Mysteries is not for every mystery reader. You have to have both a good knowledge of the period, as well as an abiding interest in it. But if you're an amateur "medievalist", you'll enjoy Royal's writing.

This book, "A Killing Season" is the eighth in the Prioress Eleanor of Tyndale series. Eleanor is a highborn woman who becomes leader of the Order of Fontvraud in 13th century England. She serves over both men and women religious. Tyndale Abbey is the setting for most of Royal's stories and the family of nuns, priests, brothers, and lay officials keep Eleanor and her aid, Brother Thomas, busy with both the clerical and worldly problems. (Brother Thomas is himself an interesting character. Charged with sodomy, he was sent to Tyndale Abbey for both penance and to serve the court of English king). There's a lot of intrigue on all levels in Royal's writing.

"Season" is set in a castle on an island in the freezing north of England. Eleanor, Brother Thomas, and several "healers" are summoned there by Eleanor's brother, Sir Hugh, to wait upon a comrade of Hugh's, Baron Herbert, who has returned home from the Holy Land (Outremer) and is having trouble adjusting to life on the home front. Herbert had left home years before as the father of five young sons, and has returned to find his sons dying at a rapid rate. Three are gone already - due to "accidents" - and the younger two are threatened. Herbert cannot - literally - face his family and he's gone into hiding within the castle. Eleanor, Hugh, Thomas, and several healers have to ferret out secrets to save lives.

"A Killing Season" is not Royal's best book. It's slightly draggy and lacks the "oomph" of her previous books. I can heartily recommend it to readers of the previous books in the series, but for those who haven't read her books, I'd say, start with the earlier ones.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of A Killing Season Oct. 6 2011
By Lydia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love it when I pick up a book that is, say, 8th in a series, and fall madly in love with it. Why? Because that means I have 7 more to enjoy before the 9th comes out!

Priscilla Royal might just be one of my new favorite authors. The Killing Season set the mood so incredibly perfectly and boasted such a thrilling cast of characters that I fell madly and deeply in love with them before I was even 2 chapters in.

And the story wasn't shabby either!

Gothic mysteries, to me, involve big, creepy castles, lots of rain and mist, thrilling, ghostlike mysteries and generally make me want to curl up on my sofa with a hot cup of tea, under my blanket, and shiver while I read the book. That happened during the reading of The Killing Season.

The story opens with a cold journey to a castle and a cast of characters already comfortable with one another from previous stories - but that did not take from the book, especially as I had not read the previous books in the series. I was introduced gently to them and never once felt lost of bewildered. The setting was a medieval one and immediately my imagination filled with the clothing, the craggy surroundings and the looming castle ahead through the mists. And then - tragedy strikes.

I just shivered writing that.

This was a historical mystery unlike anything I've read before. If I had the money right now I'd be purchasing every book in the series, this one was that good. Read it, immerse yourself in Priscilla Royal's writing. I promise you will not be disappointed.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good medival mystery. Oct. 28 2011
By Jill Meyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Priscilla Royal's series of Medieval Mysteries is not for every mystery reader. You have to have both a good knowledge of the period, as well as an abiding interest in it. But if you're an amateur "medievalist", you'll enjoy Royal's writing.

This book, "A Killing Season" is the eighth in the Prioress Eleanor of Tyndale series. Eleanor is a highborn woman who becomes leader of the Order of Fontvraud in 13th century England. She serves over both men and women religious. Tyndale Abbey is the setting for most of Royal's stories and the family of nuns, priests, brothers, and lay officials keep Eleanor and her aid, Brother Thomas, busy with both the clerical and worldly problems. (Brother Thomas is himself an interesting character. Charged with sodomy, he was sent to Tyndale Abbey for both penance and to serve the court of English king). There's a lot of intrigue on all levels in Royal's writing.

"Season" is set in a castle on an island in the freezing north of England. Eleanor, Brother Thomas, and several "healers" are summoned there by Eleanor's brother, Sir Hugh, to wait upon a comrade of Hugh's, Baron Herbert, who has returned home from the Holy Land (Outremer) and is having trouble adjusting to life on the home front. Herbert had left home years before as the father of five young sons, and has returned to find his sons dying at a rapid rate. Three are gone already - due to "accidents" - and the younger two are threatened. Herbert cannot - literally - face his family and he's gone into hiding within the castle. Eleanor, Hugh, Thomas, and several healers have to ferret out secrets to save lives.

"A Killing Season" is not Royal's best book. It's slightly draggy and lacks the "oomph" of her previous books. I can heartily recommend it to readers of the previous books in the series, but for those who haven't read her books, I'd say, start with the earlier ones.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rare misstep! Nov. 22 2011
By Sandra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Priscilla Royal's mysteries are highly atmospheric,and create an authentic picture of medieval society.
I've found the other books in this series to be extremely enjoyable.

However, in this latest entry, the killer is glaringly obvious from the beginning. The subplot, equally obvious, adds little suspense, and fails to add excitement to the story.

The work is so well-written that perhaps it is greedy to also expect a surprise, but Royal has managed quite well in her previous books, and I hope in future she'll do so again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good historical Sept. 30 2011
By P. Madsen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love historical mysteries and Royal's story has an interesting take not only on the medieval era in general but also the relationships within the world of abbeys. Even those who have devoted themselves to God struggle with daily real life. And this story is an almost frightening look at how seriously people took their relationship with God and Satan -- how very real it was to them. Although I figured out whodunnit fairly quickly, I enjoyed the journey as they discovered the bad one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medieval Mystery at its Best March 16 2012
By Judith Starkston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've always enjoyed medieval mysteries. When well written, they pull me into a world distant and exotic enough to be utterly entertaining. Escape and history all in one read. Perfect. A friend recommended I read Priscilla Royal, and now I think I owe her a good lunch in return. Royal is definitely a skilled writer of medieval mystery.

Her duo of "sleuths," Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas, have come to their vows from utterly different motivations and backgrounds, but nonetheless have a fascinatingly close working relationship, even while secrets and awkward moments abound. Royal resists putting modern sensibilities into her characters. They often make decisions violently at odds with the contemporary view of things. Good for Royal to have the integrity to build such true-to-history people. It makes for much more engaging reading.

The setting of A Killing Season is a fearsome castle in the middle of winter--a castle that "looms like Satan's shadow" on a wild coast connected to the mainland only by a narrow walkway over jagged rocks and crashing sea. Sir Herbert, its master, has recently returned from a crusade and has summoned his fellow crusader, Sir Hugh, Eleanor's brother, to bring him both medical and religious assistance. Even as Hugh, Eleanor, Thomas, and the others with them approach the frozen castle, they witness a sign of the profound troubles haunting everyone inside: a young man launches out of one of the windows to his death below. That's only one of the mysterious deaths that sprout like weeds in this killing season. Is some evil plot of men behind them or has the devil come to exact his due? And for what great sins?

The knights have lost the shine on their armor. Indeed Royal shows the psychological costs that the wars have exacted on these "holy" soldiers. We might label it post traumatic stress today, but no such consideration is granted these men. And then there are other problems of prejudice and rigid viewpoints--Royal avoids either romanticizing this world or modernizing it. As you try to guess who or what is behind the killings, you must step into the characters' viewpoints, into a strange old world. Or is it so far from ours after all?
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