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The Lost Prophecies
Collection #4

by The Medieval Murderers

      Every year, a team of writers who publish mediaeval mysteries collaborate on one of these compendium volumes. Each is filled with short stories all linked by the common thread of an artefact passed through the ages that brings death and disaster. This time it is a book of prophecies, written by a mad Irish monk during the 7th century. These doggerel verses have an uncanny habit of coming true, and never to any good purpose.

As these come out in the summer, I tend to think of them rather like an adult holiday special. The various authors put their usual sleuths through their paces, with tales of hoards of treasure, a man skinned alive in Westminster Abbey and college riots to name three. If you are not a reader of these authors’ usual work then I won’t advise reading this, as it is aimed at fans and specifically those fans who are up to the sleuths’ latest adventures. The content can perhaps be unfairly described as "more of the same" for obvious reasons, but it is an entertaining more of a rather good same! One of my two favorite stories is by Ian Morson, who has abandoned well-trodden paths (which are getting rather eroded) and blazed his own trail with a Venetian conman in 13th century Russia. You can almost hear the icy winds moaning during his taut, atmospheric story told in the first person by his engaging new sleuth. Joining the happy band for the first time is C J Sansom, who has a surprise for readers in the shape of the final story from not the distant past, but the future. He paints a grimly realistic picture of the 22nd century and a waterlogged, despoiled earth that seems as prophetic as the Black Book of Bran.

The Book

Simon & Schuster UK
1 July 2008
1847370934 / 9781847370938
Historical Mystery / Various periods / Various locations
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008