Comment: This is Priscilla Royal's second murder mystery set in the 13th century -
and it's a true delight. Royal continues with the characters she
introduced in 'Wine of Violence' (2003) - the gutsy young prioress of
Tyndal Abbey, Eleanor, and her companions, Sister Anne, a nun skilled in
medicine, and Brother Thomas, an unwilling and unseemingly handsome monk with a complex past - more about which we'll undoubtedly learn in
The first installment was set in Tyndal, but in Tyrant of the Mind, Eleanor, Sister Anne and Brother Thomas have traveled to Eleanor's family seat on the borders of Wales where her nephew is very sick. Before long the bodies start falling, almost as thick and fast as the snow on the ground (which prevents anyone calling for the local sheriff - thus setting the scene for a classic country house murder mystery, albeit set in a very drafty 13th century castle).
The joy of Royal's books is the way in which she brings the 13th century to life, illustrating the hardships and pleasures of life for real people of the period. Her Author's Notes at the end of the two books are also well worth reading for the background information she provides on the period. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that some of her references in the Author's Note might give away elements of the plot I'd recommend you read it first.
The third volume in the series, Sorrow Without End, has just been published in hardcover, and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.
This review is from the February 3, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.
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