It is late summer in the year 1270 and England is as weary as its aging king, Henry III. Although the Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, the smell of death still hangs like smoke over the land. Even in the small priory of Tyndal on the remote East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long for a return to tranquil routine. Their hopes are dashed, however, when the young and inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress over someone of their own choosing. Nor are Eleanor's own prayers for a peaceful transition answered. Only a day after her arrival, a brutally murdered monk is found in the cloister gardens, and Brother Thomas, a young priest with a troubled past, arrives to bring her a more personal grief. Now she must not only struggle to gain the respect of her terrified and resentful flock but also cope with violence, lust and greed in a place dedicated to love and peace.
With its intriguing plot, chilling conclusion and characters who exhibit universal and timeless feelings, this fresh first has all the potential to evolve into a series as enduring as Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael books.
Priscilla Royal's stellar debut is a compelling combination of mystery, intrigue and medieval history. Royal has a fresh narrative voice, an impressive ear for dialogue and a keen sense of history. Find a comfortable chair and plan to stay up late. Highly recommended.
....gripping, with an excellent plot and wonderfully realized characters. I picked it up on a long journey and could not put it down. Wonderful read.
...a fascinating look at medieval life in the year 1270 during the reign of King Henry III. Readers read about sexual predators enjoying the largesse of the Catholic Church and how secular choices are made for religious appointments. Priscilla Royal is a talented storyteller entertains and educates her audience with this regal historical.
From the Author's Foreword:
Although Tyndal Priory and its inhabitants never existed, the Order
of Fontevraud most certainly did. It was a very powerful religious
institution from its founding at the turn of the twelfth century by
Robert dArbrissel until shortly after the French Revolution. Like
the Order of the Paraclete (once headed by Heloise, whose
correspondence with her husband, Peter Abelard, is one of the
treasures of medieval literature), Fontevraud was one of the rare
Orders of double houses where a woman was in charge of both male and
.......Regarding the status of women in my fictional Eleanors
period, many of us have been told that they were considered
"the weaker vessel," accorded little respect and fewer
rights compared to women today. (An interesting conclusion from our
society that still questions whether...
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