This is the first of Penman's medieval mysteries and is a wonderful introduction to one of the queens of historical fiction. If you are not already familiar with SKP, these medieval mysteries are a great place to start. They are very entertaining, with good plots & great characters. And, careful, you might even learn something along the way.
These books (and there are currently four of them) are set during the nervous times of the early 1190's. King Richard the Lionhearted is prisoner of a foreign power & his mother, the great Eleanor of Acquitaine is ruling in his stead, trying to keep his kingdom together - despite the efforts of various intrigues, including those of his brother John (who ultimately became John I).
Wonderful, utterly delightful books! Good for all ages - all generations.
A medieval mystery...how intriguing! This is my first book by Penman and I enjoyed it. From the beginning I was drawn into Justin de Quincy's life and was wanting to know more about what he would do given his circumstances (I don't want to give anything away!) But, he does become The Queen's Man...the queen being Eleanor of Aquitaine. Enjoyable characters and dialogue and I found it to be a quick read. When I realized it was the first in a series I was afraid the "mystery" would not be solved...but, the story of this book is resolved...leaving behind the greater plot of England's royal future and Richard Lionheart. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series. 4 stars
I'm an avid English history fan. I especially like the period from about the 1100 - 1700. I also love a good mystery, so imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Sharon Kay Penman's "The Queen's Man"! Sharon Kay Penman has made quite a name for herself (and rightly so) in the historical fiction realm. Now she's set her sights on a mystery series too.
I really enjoyed the first in this series about Justin de Quincy and the services he provides for Eleanor of Aquitaine as she tries to tread the treachorous waters of foreign poliy in 1193. The book was a nice mix of historical settings, interesting characters and a plot that kept a good pace.
Justin does aid the Queen, and solves the mystery. But more than that he discovers more about himself and the larger world around him. This book wasn't earth-shattering literature, but it was a rollicking fun read that managed to teach me more about the medieval times. Now that's entertainment!
Now I'm on to the second book in the series, "Cruel as the Grave". Can Justin help Eleanor rescue Richard the Lionhearted from the clutches of the King of France?
A pleasant novel of Medieval England and Eleanor of Aquitaine and Richard the Lionheart. A quick and pleasant read of mystery and intrique and the growing up of a young man during those times. I found it a quick and enjoyable read for an afternoonl
Penman's historical mystery series is, as are her better known works, well researched and thus give the reader a good idea of "the life and times", so to speak, of that era.
It is a cleverly written and good story.
Epiphany, 1193: The road out of Winchester was hidden by snow, and Justin de Quincy was making slow progress when he heard the first faint shout. It came again, louder and clearer, a cry for help. Spurring his stallion, de Quincy raced toward the source. But he was already too late. As the two assailants fled, de Quincy cradled the dying man, trying to make out his whispered words, "They did not get it," he rasped. "Promise me. You must deliver this letter to her. To the queen."
Eleanor of Aquitaine sits upon England's throne. At seventy, she has outlived the husband who once imprisoned her. But has she also outlived her much-loved eldest son, Richard Lionheart, England's king--missing these past two months? Only Eleanor's fierce will can keep her youngest son, John, from seizing the crown. Only a letter, spattered with the blood of a dying man murdered on the Winchester road, can tell her if Richard still lives.
Epiphany, 1193. Eleanor of Aquitaine sits upon England's throne. Her beloved son Richard Lionheart is missing, presumed dead--and the court whispers that her younger son John is plotting to seize the crown.
Meanwhile, on the snowy highroad from Winchester, a destitute young man falls heir to a blood-stained letter, pressed into his hand by a dying man. The missive becomes Justin de Quincy's passport into the queen's confidence--and into the heart of danger, as he pursues a cunning murderer and jousts with secret traitors in Eleanor's court of intrigue and mystery. . . .
From the cover . . . "Epiphany, 1193. Eleanor of Aquitaine sits upon England's throne. Her beloved son, Richard Lionheart is missing, presumed dead -- and the court whispers that her younger son, John, is plotting to seize the crown.
"Meanwhile, on the snowy high road from Winchester, a destitute young man falls heir to a bloodstained letter, pressed into his hand by a dying man. The missive becomes Justin de Quincy's passport into the queen's confidence -- and into the heart of danger, as he pursues a cunning murderer and jousts with secret traitors in Eleanor's court of intrigue and mystery."