Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Headline
Release Date: February 2004
ISBN: 0755307739
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre:   Historical Crime [1303 Paris and Dorset, England]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

The Magician’s Death
Hugh Corbett Series
Paul Doherty

     Paul Doherty continues to enchant his readers with his own personal sub-genre, which is a heady mixture of history, mystery and the darker side of things. Here is the fourteenth title in long-running series about melancholy but loveable Sir Hugh Corbett and his band and surely this time he has created a title that sums up in a nutshell his own inimitable style.

      Moving swiftly from the scheming Philip IV’s palace to Corbett’s own men stealing the French copy of Friar Bacon’s Book of Secrets, it rattles along, packed with incident. Corbett is forced to confront his old archenemy Amaury de Craon at Corfe Castle in the depths of winter, for Philip IV wants the scholars of England and France to work together in order to crack the code of the Book of Secrets. Outside in the snowy forests lurk Horehound and his outlaw band and young women working in and around the castle are being murdered. When the French scholars start dying, too, Corbett is galvanized into action to find out whodunit, and stay alive as well, which isn’t going to be easy with so many people wanting him dead..

      You’ve got the lot in here: murders, outlaws, espionage, a magical book that nobody can understand, a dark and snowy forest and a spooky old castle. Nobody does this sort of thing like Doherty, and nobody sensible would be keen to try. This could have been rather like a house party mystery, but Doherty gives it all an edge with bloody murders and a gritty portrayal of what an outlaw’s lot was really like. Edward I and Philip IV are not two of the most done-to-death rulers and Doherty turnss their scheming into fascinating reading. This is a fun mixture of serious history and exuberant drama – Doherty at his finest.