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The Tainted Relic [Paperback]

The Medieval Murderers

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Book Description

Aug. 1 2006
July, 1100. Jerusalem lies ransacked. Amidst the chaos, an English knight is entrusted with a valuable religious relic: a fragment of the True Cross, allegedly stained with the blood of Christ. The relic is said to be cursed: anyone who touches it will meet an untimely and gruesome end. Several decades later, the Cross turns up in the possession of a dealer, robbed and murdered en route to Glastonbury. Investigating the death, Bernard Knight's protagonist, Crowner John learns of its dark history. In Oxford in 1269, the discovery of a decapitated monk leads Ian Morson's academic sleuth William Falconer to uncover a link to the relic. In 1323, in Exeter, Michael Jecks' Sir Baldwin has reason to suspect its involvement in at least five violent deaths. Thirty years later, several suspicious deaths occur in Cambridge -- and, once again, the tainted relic has a crucial part to play. Finally, it's despatched to London, where Philip Gooden's Nick Revill will determine its ultimate fate.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 1 edition (Aug. 1 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416502130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416502135
  • Product Dimensions: 17.7 x 11.3 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #352,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This entertaining but uneven round-robin effort by six British crime writers traces the sinister history of a "fragment of the true cross" from its origin in Jerusalem in A.D. 1100 through 10 bloody centuries. In Beaufort's prologue, Barzac, the unlikely Arab custodian of this artifact, places a curse on anyone touching the scrap of wood "stained with Christ's blood" after Crusaders massacre his family. The relic claims three victims in Jerusalem before turning up in 1194 in England, where chapman Robert Blundus (in Knight's absorbing "Act One") seeks to peddle this treasure to any willing churchman. Further travails over the centuries lead to Philip Gooden's lively conclusion, in which Shakespeare and friends get embroiled in a semicomical mixup between a missing play of his and this "popish gewgaw." A brief epilogue, set in present-day London, provides a final ironic twist. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

The Medieval Murderers are Michael Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden, and Simon Beaufort.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Medieval Murderers June 26 2005
By M. Shankland - Published on
'The Tainted Relic' is collaboration between the 'Medieval Murderers' collective of murder mystery writers (namely Simon Beaufort, Michael Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden). The relic in question is (allegedly) a piece of the true cross taken from Jerusalem after the Second Crusade took the city in July 1100. The Crusaders' victory is marked by indiscriminate slaughter of Jews and Moslems living in the city, and the Arab guardian of this relic curses it after finding that the Crusaders have butchered his family and are about to cut him down. The relic brings death to those who possess it, and travels through the medieval timeline in England, encountering the different characters and eras which have been used by the Medieval Murderers in their respective novels. What makes this novel particularly interesting -apart from the joint author aspect- is that you can read it as a sequence of murder mysteries, or you can read it as a horror novel. Or perhaps on a more esoteric level,as a comment on the nature of Medieval Christendom, forever corrupted by the brutality of July 1100.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique Work March 19 2007
By Bookaholic - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first work in historical murder mystery I have ever seen with multiple authors writing on the same theme. While not all the authors meet the level of Jecks or Knight, the work as a whole still deserves 5 stars. You may not like parts of this "meal" but you won't leave hungry for a treat in murder mystery. It starts in one time period and ends ... well buy it and read it. They don't pay me, I purchase their works when not reading academic works, etc. I am also disabled veteran who needs a break from the other materials mentioned. It was my good fortune to find Jecks and Knight and now these other friends of theirs. There are too many writing "murder mystery" and getting away with their writing and folks like these not getting the credit due them.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Five stories - one theme Nov. 2 2007
By Brian Jones - Published on
In many ways, The Tainted Relic is five separate novellas all created with a single theme. An interesting concept, five different writers each take a period of time and then build a story around an alleged splinter of Jesus' cross that is stained with his blood. An invaluable possession in the medieval period of the stories, it carries with it a curse that leaves everyone that comes in contact with it dead. The stories are loosely connected across time, and provide for some good casual reading.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea, but..... Jan. 28 2006
By Valerie Obey - Published on
This was a good idea, to have several writers get together and work on a common theme. It has been done before and most of the ideas came off quite well. This particular book did not quite make the grade.

The basic story is a good one. A piece of the true cross with a curse attached to it as it from hand-to-hand during different periods. A short story from each of the authors covers each period. Unfortunately, some of the authors were not that good and the story as a whole suffered because of that.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining Aug. 20 2009
By Srdjan Pesic - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Group of well known historical mystery writers got together and wrote a novel in installments. Sounds like a grand idea. The piece of the True Cross is exchanging hands through centuries, bringing death as a consequence of an ancient curse.
All the writers are well respected schollars of history and it shows in their books. We learn a lot about the times long past without having to read dusty historical books. That part of the whole project works great. Things get little bumpy in execution, when the connections between the chapters get a bit stretched.
All and all, it is very entertaining if a little too long book. I'll gladly try another one.

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