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Publisher: Constable (Constable & Robinson)
Release Date: August 2004
ISBN: 184119817X
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre: Historical Crime [1370, France] 
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

Chaucer & The House of Fame 
By Philippa Morgan

      Poet and secret agent, Geoffrey Chaucer, is on a top-secret mission for his master, John of Gaunt. He has to go to the south of France and try to persuade Henri, Comte de Guyac, to side with the English during the Hundred Years' War. Chaucer visited the chateau twenty years before as a prisoner of war, and fondly remembers the beautiful Comtesse - but will she remember him? He and his travelling companions face a long and eventful journey, but their arrival at the chateau is going to be even more eventful.

      This good-natured novel is surely the first in a new series of Chaucer's exploits. Although there is a murder to solve, this is essentially an adventure story with the murder a part of the action, but not the whole. Mistrustful travelling companions, strolling players, assassins, the thrill of the chase, courtly stories and more, all combine in an enjoyable and rather cozy story. If you like your fiction with an edge, look elsewhere; but if entertainment and a good tale is what you fancy (what Chaucer would have given you, after all) then you will like this. Some work needs to be done on the characters, I felt, most of which tend to run towards the stereotypical. The most enjoyable parts for me were the lively journeys, which tend to overshadow anything that happens at the chateau. The ending is rather abrupt and reads more like an afterword with its change of tense, and the plot strand about the romance with Rosamund has a large build-up but then fizzles out. Entertaining and gentle; I will be very interested to see how this new series goes on.