My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The title alone was enough to draw me to this particular novel, though the identity of the novel as the next in a series that I had started, and as the product of an author I particularly enjoy, were also reasons for me to read it.
And what a joy it was to accompany the two protagonists, Stanton and Barling, both ‘King’s men’, as the journey to the secluded location of a Cistercian monastery to assist the abbot in uncovering the cause of the murder of one of the monks. Confronted on their arrival with additional murders of monks, Barling and Stanton scramble to understand both the history of the monastery and the identity of the culprit. Misinformation and animosity from the monks, who do not appreciate ‘outsiders’ being invited into their secluded world, hamper their efforts until the very end – and the identity of the perpetrator is a surprise to all (including this reader!).
As always, Powell brings her propensity for historical research to the crafting of a wonderful narrative that entertains and engages. For those readers interested in the historical period in which the stories are set, the glimpse of the background historicity seeps through into the narrative, adding to the overall authenticity of the narrative.
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