Late spring, the year of our Lord 1370. Owen Archer, ex-soldier and spy, is preparing to depart Wales, his work for John of Gaunt completed. But his attempts to arrange safe passage home to York are thwarted by a mysterious suicide. In York Lucie Wilton is disheartened by her husband's long absence and concerned by allegations against her ...
Late spring, the year of our Lord 1370. Owen Archer, ex-soldier and spy, is preparing to depart Wales, his work for John of Gaunt completed. But his attempts to arrange safe passage home to York are thwarted by a mysterious suicide. In York Lucie Wilton is disheartened by her husband's long absence and concerned by allegations against her apothecary. Then Brother Michaelo brings upsetting news, forcing her to journey to her father's manor outside the city. Increasingly desperate, she accepts the company of a stranger, who proves invaluable when they face danger. Angered by Owen's prolonged absence, aware of malicious rumours, John Thoresby, Archbishop of York, orders his return. But Owen's stay in the land of his birth has created divided loyalties in him. And those who serve the Welsh rebel leader would have Owen sign up to fight and never go home...
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-02-18 The seventh Archer mystery from medieval scholar Robb (The Nun's Tale, etc.) presents an absorbing picture of 14th-century Britain, which is rife with intrigue, rebellion and murder. As Welshmen chafe under English rule, ex-soldier Owen Archer (who won his surname from his skill with a bow) is caught between family obligations in York and his mandate to find whoever hanged Cynog, an eminent but also enigmatic stonemason, who had been working on the tomb of Mistress Archer's late father. Having lost an eye in battle, Owen is reduced to conducting religious tours and investigations for clerics and other local powerbrokers. The scenes change quickly and often between St. David's shrine in Wales and Archer's home in north England, where his impatient wife, Lucie, an apothecary, and their restless son await his return. Wife and son both question Owen's loyalty to England when he's linked to the cause of Wales's legendary redeemer, Owain Lawgoch. Rumor has it that Owain has come from France to free his homeland. Strong faith and fear of God permeate all aspects of people's lives in this dour tale of misery and deprivation. Medievalists will enjoy such raw descriptions as that of the hero's visit to the high sheriff's castle, replete with floggings, acrid smells and streams polluted by offal and waste, but others less familiar with Welsh history and place names may find themselves lost in the maze. Maps, an author's note on the historical background and a glossary provide both interest and guidance. (Apr. 25) FYI: Last year Robb launched a new medieval series with A Trust Betrayed: First Chapter of Margaret Kerr of Perth. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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