I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Once the king's captain of archers, now he must penetrate a poisoner's secrets...
Christmastide, 1363-and, at an abbey in York, two pilgrims die mysteriously dead of an herbal remedy. Suspicious, the Archbishop sends for Owen Archer, a Welshman with the charm of the devil, who's lost one eye to the wars in France and must make a new career as an honest spy.
Masquerading as an apprentice to Apothecary Nicholas Wilton, whose shop dispensed the fatal potion, Owen's dark curls, leather eyepatch and gold earring intrigue Wilton's wife. But is this lovely woman a murderess? and what links the Wiltons to bumbling Brother Wulfstan, ascetic Archdeacon Anselm and his weaselly agent Potter Digby, and the ragged midwife Magda the Riverwoman? Answers as slippery as the frozen cobblestones draw Owen into a dangerous drama of old scandals and tragedies, obsession and unholy love...
I read this book to fill the Read by Candlelight square of my 2019 Halloween Bingo Card.
What an excellent way to spend a cold, snowy evening. And yes, we had snow in late September, quite a bit of it and I was happy to hide at home.
I can’t give this novel marks as high as the Brother Cadfael mysteries. I certainly enjoyed it, but would have to rate it from 3 to 3.5 stars. For me, the last chapter just whipped together too quickly, with too little effort on the part of the main characters. I would have found it more to my taste if Owen & Lucie were to remain in limbo until some point in the next book. But I am not a fan of the neatly tied up ending, I much prefer something more ambiguous.
Nevertheless, I have picked up books 2 and 3 of the series at my favourite used book store and I will likely read them before returning them for credit. Although I don’t love Owen Archer as much as I am obviously supposed to, he isn’t the worst mystery character on the market and I’ll give him another chance or two before I abandon the series.
My cheery little candles, lighting the dark evening
A big pot of Macaroni & Cheese, comfort food for a cold, snowy evening