AD 1193. England lies uneasy, a land without a king. Richard the Lionheart is feared drowned on his return from Crusade, his brother John conspires to usurp the crown. On the throne, in the Lionheart's stead, sits Eleanor of Aquitaine. She is determined to prevent a civil war, but there are few she can trust. Justin de Quincy is bastard-born son ...
AD 1193. England lies uneasy, a land without a king. Richard the Lionheart is feared drowned on his return from Crusade, his brother John conspires to usurp the crown. On the throne, in the Lionheart's stead, sits Eleanor of Aquitaine. She is determined to prevent a civil war, but there are few she can trust. Justin de Quincy is bastard-born son of the Aubrey de Quincy, Bishop of Chester. The Bishop never acknowledged Justin, bestowing on the boy - in lieu of name or fortune - only an education. As it happens, it is a gift that, together with a blood-stained letter given to him by a dying man, will take de Quincy to the very centre of power - and into the heart of danger. Moving from the Tower of London to the alehouses and stews of Southwark, from to the mountains of Wales to the wild coasts of Brittany, de Quincy will prove his mettle as the Queen's Man - or find an early grave - as he uncovers the dark intrigues of Eleanor's court.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-08-26 It's 1193. In a bleak and bitterly cold England, King Richard, on his way back from the crusades, has been missing for two months, and his ruthless brother John is scheming for the throne. Penman (Here Be Dragons) sets this energetic and adroitly plotted series launch within this historical framework, giving Justin de Quincy, the well-educated but illegitimate son of a bishop, a chance to save England. Justin is too late to aid a goldsmith murdered by thieves, but he does take the wealthy man's hidden letters to their destination: the Queen mother, Eleanor. Of course, he reads them first and discovers that King Richard, with the connivance of the French king, is being held prisoner in Austria. The Queen appoints Justin as her chief investigator into the goldsmith's murder, giving him money, carte blanche and dire warnings as to the need for secrecy. Justinæcomely, courageous and shrewdæquickly befriends a wide array of sheriffs, doxies and wenches, and flits from palace to alehouse to brothel ferreting out plots and conspiracies. The sounds of swordplay and bodices being ripped are loud and frequent. The accomplished author of historical novels employs some stereotypical characters (if he sneers, he's a villain) and much clich?d prose ("...her mouth as soft and ripe as Summer strawberries"), yet Justin is so beguiling and, the action so lively and unpredictable, that readers will cheer Justin's return in further adventures. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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