It is 1301 and a fragile peace exists between Edward of England and Philip IV of France. In the fetid alleys and slums of London and Paris it is a different matter. Here the secret agents of both countries still fight their own, silent, deadly battles. The Prince of Wales wallows in luxury under the sinister influence of his favourite, Gaveston, who has secret political ambitions to dominate the young prince and the English crown. These scandals are threatened with exposure when Lady Belmont, the prince's former mistress, is found dead, her neck broken, at the foot of a nunnery's steps. Was it suicide? An accident? Or malicious murder? Edward turns to his master spy, Hugh Corbett, to solve the mystery. In doing so, Corbett must face the deadly rivalry of his French counterpart, the murderous rage of Gaveston and the silent threats of assassins. He must also contend with the lies and silken deceits of his own master.
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Paul Doherty was born in Middlesbrough. He studied History at Liverpool and Oxford Universities and obtained a doctorate for his thesis on Edward II and Queen Isabella. He is now headmaster of a school in north-east London and lives with his family in Essex.From Publishers Weekly:
In the summer of 1300, the body of Eleanor Belmont is found lifeless in the Oxfordshire nunnery to which she was confined after her lover, the Prince of Wales, was officially betrothed to the French king's daughter. Fearful that the peace between England and France may be compromised by rumors that Eleanor's death was the work of the prince and/or his ruthless, ambitious male lover, King Edward I of England sends his clerk Hugh Corbett to investigate. Corbett, a spoiler of court intrigues in Angel of Death and three previous medieval mysteries, here must solve a second murder in a plot so murky that at several points he carefully itemizes developments for the undoubtedly grateful reader. Nonetheless this is a fascinating and successful historical novel: Doherty seldom belabors the setting, choosing instead to let time and place gently wash over his audience as he offers subtle observations. The presence of a few too many villains leads to a cluttered conclusion, but Doherty brings a sense of humanity to all his characters, particularly the appealing Corbett: a loyal servant, a devoted husband (in the face of a surprisingly alluring lady in a habit) and an astute detective.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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