Christmas Eve, 1176. Brother Maurice, monk of Fairmore Abbey, awaits the night prayer bell. But there is only silence. Cursing his fellow brother Cuthbert’s idleness, he seeks him out—and in the darkness, finds him brutally murdered.
Summoned from London to the isolated monastery on the Yorkshire Moors, Aelred Barling, clerk to the King’s justices, and his messenger Hugo Stanton, set about investigating the horrific crime. They quickly discover that this is far from a quiet monastic house. Instead, it seethes with bitter feuds, rivalries and resentments. But no sooner do they arrive than the killer strikes again—and again.
When Barling discovers a pattern to these atrocities, it becomes apparent that the murderer’s rampage is far from over. With everyone, including the investigators, now fearing for their lives, can Barling and Stanton unmask the culprit before more blood is spilled?
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, the second in the Stanton & Barling series really took my breath away. I can't tell you how absorbed I was within this story, which gave me a great insight into the day to day living of twelfth-century monastic life.
When the Abbot from Fairmore Abbey, sent a message to Ranulf de Glanville, the justice of King Henry II, Aelred Barling, the senior royal clerk, was commissioned to investigate the brutal slaying of Brother Cuthbert, the sacrist of the Cistercian order of the Abbey. Of course, Barling took along with him his reluctant assistant Hugo Stanton, on a journey that would lead to many more murders and place the whole order and themselves is serious peril.
It was good to examine the individual characters of the monks and the lay brothers, and also the incongruous relationship between Stanton and Barling who clearly have unspoken brotherly love for each other.
I am seriously addicted to these two characters and live in hope that there will be many more medieval murderous adventures for Stanton and Barling to come. In the meantime, I'm going to take a look at E.M. Powell's 'Fifth Knight' series.