A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.
England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.
The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.
Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.
Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?
About E M Powell
E.M. Powell is the author of medieval thriller The Fifth Knight, which was a #1 Amazon Bestseller. Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in the northwest of England with her husband and daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog. She is a regular blogger on English Historical Fiction Authors and a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Learn more about E.M. Powell on her website www.empowell.com.
This is the first E.M. Powell novel that I had read, and it certainly will not be my last. Set during the reign of Henry II, when clerk to the King's Justices Aelred Barling, is sent to the village of Claresham, just outside York, to investigate and pass judgment on Nicholas Lindley, accused of a brutal murder. Barling appoints his messenger Hugo Stanton as his assistant. It wasn't a marriage made in heaven, but as the story progresses their exasperation with each other gradually changes to mutual respect. Other murders take place in this quiet unassuming village, which puts everybody under suspicion.
It only took me two days to read this book. I was totally absorbed in the twists and turns of the plot, and the engaging characters. There was plenty of humour to lighten the darker side of the plot, and I found the lord of the manor Sir Richard Edgar a hilarious idiot, albeit a powerfully dangerous idiot. There was so much in this fast-paced, narrative, that ticked all the right boxes for me, including short chapters, (I love short chapters).
I've just taken delivery of book two of the Stanton and Barling Mysteries, 'The Monastery Murders', so there is plenty more medieval fun and brutality to come.