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The Templar, The Queen and Her Lover
Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and his Simon Puttock series #24

by Michael Jecks

      This is quite a veteran series now, with this latest title being the twenty-fourth to feature the exploits of Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and his sidekick the bailiff Simon Puttock. In the last book they were chosen to accompany Edward IIís Queen Isabella on an embassy to her brother King Charles IV. Their mission is to negotiate peace and decide who owns what regarding land; for the Queen, she is glad to escape the prison that her dissolute husband and his lover have created for her.

This begins a tortuous plot involving the Affair of the Silken Purses and its aftermath, which led to the downfall of the Capetian kings. The plot revolves around the imprisoned first wife of Charles IV in Chateau Gaillard, what happens when she is released and the staff "disbanded." There are murders in the train of knights and others who accompany the Queen, and we meet some old characters and a few new ones, including a troupe of strolling players. It is a tubby tome, almost of a size to prop open a door providing the day was not too gusty, but Jecks shows us that he can fill the pages with a plot that is sure to interest those who prefer "straight" historical novels as well as whodunit fans. As with any long running series it is vital to keep the stories fresh and lively with changes of scene; here the pair has left Devon for France, and the minutiae of country affairs for well-documented historical affairs of state. Jecksí style has gone through more than one change, but has settled nicely into showing us some fairly dark scenes; and long may he continue to do so.

The Book

November 2007
Historical Mystery [1325 Paris, France]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
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