Christmas, 1669. In the grip of the coldest winter for years, the Thames is frozen from bank to bank and London celebrates with the traditional Frost Fair held on its broad back. Among the throng are Christopher Redmayne, an ambitious young architect, and his good friend, Constable Jonathan Bale. But the pair make a chilling discovery: the frozen corpse of a naked man embedded in the ice. Christopher is further drawn into the mystery when his own brother is accused of the murder. With his brother facing execution, the architect must risk all he holds dear, both professionally and personally, to uncover the truth.
England's King Richard Lionheart languishes in a German prison, and treason scents the air. Richard's younger brother, John, seizes Windsor Castle, and Dowager Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine summons her trusted personal "queen's man," Justin de Quincy, to do the impossible - mediate a truce with her rebel son.
Amid such fateful events, the murder of a Welsh peddler's daughter seems small. But the cruel demise of the beautiful Melangell so troubles Justin that not even a threatened French invasion can keep him from investigating her death. Yet can he bring Melangell"s craven killer to justice?
In the summer of 1358 Matthew Bartholomew finds himself one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, sent north to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the Abbot of Peterborough. He and his colleagues quickly learn that behind the beautiful façade of the Benedictine monastery there is a vicious struggle for power, and that not everyone would be happy to see the prelate's safe return.
This unrest and discontent seems to have spread throughout the town, and there are bitter rivalries between competing shrines and the financial benefits of the relics they hold. One of these shrines is dedicated to Lawrence de Oxforde, a robber and murderer who was executed for his crimes, but who has been venerated ever since miracles started occurring at his grave. But when Bartholomew and his friend Brother Michael go to investigate, they find murder instead...
'A first-rate treat for mystery lovers' (Historical Novels Review)
'Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place' (Choice)
But he was already too late. As the two assailants fled, de Quincy cradled the dying man, straining to make out his whispered words. "They did not get it," he rasped. "Promise me. You must deliver this letter to her. To the queen."
Eleanor of Aquitaine sits on England's throne. At seventy, she has outlived the husband with whom she had once scandalized the world. But has she also outlived her favorite, her first-born son? Richard Lionheart, England's king, has been missing these last months. It is rumored that he is dead. Many think his youngest brother plots to steal the crown. Only Eleanor's fierce will can keep John from acting on his greed. Only a letter, splattered with the blood of a dying man murdered on the Winchester road, can tell her if Richard still lives.
With the same sure touch she has brought to her historical fiction, Sharon Kay Penman turns to the mystery form. Setting her story in a period she captured brilliantly in earlier novels, she introduces Justin de Quincy. Bastard-born, de Quincy is the son of a high cleric who never acknowledged him, bestowing on the boy--in lieu of name or fortune--only an education. As it happens, it is a gift that will take young de Quincy into the very centers of power--and into the heart of danger, making him the Queen's man.
Moving from the royal chambers in the Tower of London to the alehouses and stews of Southwark, from the horrors of Newgate Gaol to the bustling streets of Winchester, de Quincy proves his mettle as he tracks a brutal and cunning murderer and uncovers the sinister intrigues of Eleanor's court.
It is deep winter in York, 1400, the ground frozen, the short days dimmed with the smoke from countless fires, the sun, when it shines, low in the sky. It is rumored that the Epiphany Uprising, meant to relieve the realm of the Henry the usurper and return King Richard to the throne has, instead, spelled his doom. As long as Richard lives, he is a threat to Henry. So, too, the nobles behind the plot. The ringleaders have been caught, some slaughtered as they fled west by folk loyal to Henry, and the king’s men now search the towns for survivors.
A perilous time, made worse for Kate Clifford by the disappearance of Berend, her cook and confidante, shortly after Christmas. Her niece saw his departure in a dream—he said he was honor bound to leave. Honor bound—to a former lord? One of the nobles who led the uprising? Is he alive? She is hardly consoled when Berend reappears, wounded, secretive, denying any connection to the uprising, but refusing to explain himself. When he is accused of brutally murdering a spice seller in the city, Kate discovers a chest of jewels in his possession. Some of the jewels belong to her old friend Lady Margery, wanted by the king for her husband’s part in the uprising. For the sake of their long friendship, and the love she and her wards bear for him, Kate wants to believe his innocence. So, too, does Sir Elric. And he has the powerful backing of the Earl of Westmoreland. All she need do is confide in him. If only she trusted her heart.