Prince of Darkness

A Medieval Mystery

Book 4
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11
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The Edgar®-nominated author of the medieval mysteries featuring Justin de Quincy places the Queen’s Man far from home—and in the presence of a most cunning foe...

Justin de Quincy has been lured to Paris by his nemesis, Prince John, on a mission of mercy. The prince is suspected in a plot to kill his brother, King Richard. Despite John’s hunger for the crown, he’s unwilling to put himself at risk for regicide—and he wants Justin’s help in discrediting the document that implicates him.
 
Justin only concedes to John’s request when he realizes that the welfare of the woman he serves, Eleanor of Aquitaine, is also at risk. It is a concession that will take him to a bloody chamber at Mont St Michel, to a putrid dungeon in Brittany, to a murderous encounter in a Paris cemetery, and to the unraveling of a conspiracy that might have changed the course of English history.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Mar 7, 2006
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781440622762
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Historical
Fiction / Romance / Historical / Medieval
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Long live the Queen! A magnificent Queen Elizabeth I reigned in the movie Shakespeare in Love, but it is the younger queen of the film Elizabeth whom we meet in Fiona Buckley's acclaimed Ursula Blanchard mystery series.
It's 1562 and Catholic Spain threatens the stability of Protestant England. In France, the Protestant Huguenots also face threats from the powerful Catholics. Fearing that such pro-Catholic movements might spread to England, Elizabeth hopes to mediate a peace between the two French factions.
Enter Ursula Blanchard, twenty-seven-year-old Lady of the Presence Chamber, who has a special mandate from Sir William Cecil, Secretary of State, to spy on behalf of the queen. Nearly the same age as Elizabeth, Ursula has already proved herself worthy of the queen's gratitude in difficult and dangerous situations.
The queen wants Ursula to go to France, where civil war may break out at any moment, to hand-carry a letter from Elizabeth to France's queen mother and regent, Catherine de Médicis. To keep her mission secret, Ursula will ostensibly accompany her former father-in-law, Luke Blanchard, a man she neither likes nor trusts, when he travels to France to fetch his young ward, Helene, to the safety of England.
Ursula has the queen's protection and she has with her her faithful servants Brockley and Dale. But she soon realizes that sinister forces threaten her. Is someone trying to prevent her from delivering the letter? Whom can she trust? Luke Blanchard? Helene? Her servants? Anthony Jenkinson, the blithe merchant adventurer whose path crosses hers and who has enemies of his own? Can she be sure even of the queen? What will happen to Meg, her little daughter left behind in England, if she fails to return?
Perhaps the most poignant of all, Ursula's second husband, Matthew, a Frenchman and an enemy of Elizabeth, is somewhere in France, but can she see him without bringing disaster on both of them? There is powerful chemistry between them but what is their destiny?
Ursula soon learns that she faces an enemy who will stop at nothing -- not murder, not torture, not charges of heresy that may lead to burning at the stake -- to destroy her. To prevail, she must undertake a desperate new mission of her own, with an innocent life at risk.
Murder, treason, treasure, passion -- they all combine to make a compelling historical mystery from an author whose vast knowledge of the period adds depth and color to this riveting new series.
Epiphany, 1193: the road out of Winchester was hidden by snow, and Justin de Quincy was making slow progress when he heard the first faint shout. It came again, louder and clearer, a cry for help. Spurring his stallion, de Quincy raced toward the source.

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.

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