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The Sword of Shame
Historical Mystery Anthology #2

by The Medieval Murderers

      Last year those best-selling writers of mediaeval mysteries Michael Jecks, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden and Susanna Gregory joined forces to write a book called The Tainted Relic (also reviewed on this site). The premise for this was a cursed artifact causing mayhem down the centuries. A year on they are back with a second book, this time with a linked set of stories about... a cursed artifact. This time is it a sword, forged in the 1040s by a Saxon sword maker, which saw service at the Battle of Hastings, before doing a dastardly deed and appearing in Exeter in the 1190s. Cue the next story!

If you are a fan of any or all of these writers, and are wishing that there was a new book out to read, then this is going to be essential reading. There is always going to be a bitty feel about this sort of thing, but considering these writers are normally all novelists they donít fare too badly with the short story form. This sounds as if it might be one of those "taster" volumes with samples of various authorsí work aimed at people who are looking for something new to read. It isnít, as each story is fairly or very up-to-date with wherever the set of characters the author writes about was at in their last book (apart from Ian Morsonís tale). So this book is squarely aimed at established fans. It is an interesting idea, and one that continues to add a frisson of the sort of fantasy you can expect in a Paul Doherty novel. It is good to read Ian Morson again, and I wouldnít mind if the new character he invented for this volume appears in a longer novel. I expect the Mediaeval Murderers will be back next summer... one to take on vacation with you.

The Book

Simon & Schuster
June 1, 2006
Historical Crime
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006