"He who lives in falsehood slays his soul; he who lies, his honour."
Sword of Shame is captivating. Every tale filled with eclectic characters - not to mention enough
historical imagery to place you in the middle of it all. Itís an entertaining audio, ready to make those afternoons
go by quickly - maybe too quickly. Sword of Shame is a wonderful sample for anyone wanting to give each of
these authors a try. I came away completely impressed - even more so than with the first in series, The Tainted
Relic (also reviewed on Myshelf.com).
Reader Paul Matthews is brilliant at presenting the work of each author, which made it doubly hard to turn the
audio off between listens. I found myself anxious to get back to it and see where the sword would strike next.
Below is a sample of what to expect. Enjoy.
A kind sword smith, born out of rape, creates a beautiful sword. With violence and death surrounding his family,
he decides this sword will be different. A good manís intent becomes a curse to last centuries.
Act I - Exeter 1195
As in the The Tainted Relic someone close to Bernard Knightís Crowner John is suspected of murder.
Gwyn of Polruan works for Crowner John. Gwyn loses his home to a fire and the landlord demands the cost. Angry
words and blows are traded. Later, John buys a new sword for Gwyn. (Guess which sword...) Needless to say the
landlord is found dead and the Sheriff feeds off the pleasure of arresting Johnís officer. (Oh I hate that Sheriff.)
Crowner, with the help of his mistress, strives to free Gwyn and solve the case. Crowner John has that imperfect
hero persona going for him. You may not always agree with his decisions, but unless youíre the bad guy, you canít
help but root for him. A great listen as always.
Act II - Venice 1262
The tale opens with a man throwing a sword in the muck at the edge of Venice. Then back tracks to when Ian
Morson's Nick Zuliani arrives in Venice and the time spent with his mistress and friends. Eventually, a rigged
election leads to betrayal; a favor leads to murder. Passion turns to suspicion, leaving poor Nick and the infamous
sword in the middle of it all. Morson pens a very colorful, very mature picture of Venice and historical politics.
The local Miller finds a body. Michael Jecks' Keeper Sir Baldwin and Bailiff Puttock are called to
solve the crime. The body is identified as the servant of Sir John. The sword in question is missing and belongs to
a family in turmoil. Their father, Sir Humphrey, brought the sword back from the City of Akers during the time of
the Knights Templar. The sword brings even more tragedy and dredges up their ancestral curse. Baldwin and Puttock
have quite a conundrum to solve here...
Poitiers France - 1356
Years later Sir Johnís son, Matthew, carries it to Poitiers France, where the Black Prince is trapped. The sword
reminds Matthew he isnít a warrior...
Act IV - Ickleton, Cambridgeshire - 1357
The College owns a manor in Ickletown. Renter Sir Phillip writes to tell them he donated the rent to the local
Priory. Needless to say Susanna Gregory's Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael are sent to collect
the money greatly needed for their new latrines. Matthew and Michael come across Dame Pauline, Sister Rose, and
Lord Askill, who are out hunting. They all arrive at the manor to find the renter dead - stabbed in the back with
a sword - and just when the victim decided to change his Will. It looks like the members of the local Priory will
get a piece of Brother Michaelís mind. And the keeper(s) of the sword will find out this "truly is a sword of
shame." Suspects abound in this one.
Act V - Inckleton, 1604
It's winter and Philip Gooden's player Nick Revill arrives at the manor in answer to a request for a
private performance during a wedding, come summer. Nick discovers the manor occupants make him uneasy... He becomes
acquainted with the lord of the manor and his pet. When the head of the household is found dead in the courtyard,
Nickís innocent face and honest mistake in surnames sets him up for murder. When offered a way out, Nick decides to
stay and face his accusers with his own finale. The author puts on quite a show with this one.
Epilogue - London, 2005
An auctioneer passes the little village of Incketon on his way to an auction which includes a sword with a cursed
A memorable listen. An outstanding job by the Medieval Murderers. Looking forward to the next in series. Highly