#1 in the Knights Templar medieval series featuring bailiff Simon Puttock and 'retired' Templar knight Sir Baldwin Furnshill in Devon, UK. The time is 1316, several years after the Templars have been disbanded and disgraced, many of their number tortured and executed at the hands of the Inquisition. Sir Baldwin heads to his boyhood home, Furnshill Manor, to resume duty as the Lord of the manor after the death of his elder brother. Simon, meanwhile, is the brand new bailiff of Lydford Castle and finds himself very busy in the first days of his new position.
First, a villager is burned to death in the fire of his cottage and then a group of monks is waylaid by highwaymen, the abbot among them taken for ransom and later found burned at the stake over a fire in the woods. Simon, a rather sensitive man, is devastated and somewhat indecisive as to how to proceed, and Baldwin steps in to assist. They become friends, but Baldwin is wary of sharing the secrets of his past so soon after meeting Simon so their relationship is a little superficial at first. When a group of travelers is brutally attacked, robbed and murdered, things escalate quickly and it's soon determined that there are actually three separate crimes and not one roving band of killers. Bit of a surprising end, but by then I just wanted the book to be done.
I chose this book for a challenge I was in with a category called, "Everyone Deserves a Second Chance" where you read an author you'd previously read and didn't care for. I liked this book better than the other Jecks I'd read a few years ago, but not much. There were many repetitive parts, and Jecks' propensity to describe every person you come across in great detail down to their wrinkles got old really fast. And I didn't particularly like Simon Puttock's character--he seemed like a whiny wimp to me. At any rate, at least for now, I will not be continuing on in this series.
This is one of the very few books I have not been able to finish. The prologue was good but by the time I got into the first chapter I was irritated with his writing style and repetitions of phrases. I had the feeling he was trying to fill up space. I am going to try another of his works to see if they get any better. Sometimes the first of a series is not the author's best work.
I started this series "in medias res," immediately fell in love with Sir Baldwin, Edgar, and Simon, and quickly headed for the beginning of the series to see more of how Michael Jecks developed the characterization. The honorable Sir Baldwin, the former Templar, is the seems almost a too perfect noble knight, but even he can surprise both readers and friends. His detecting skills are, of course, outstanding, and the plot is a wonderful feat of narrative sleight of hand!
Of course, as I consider the West Country one of "bits" of England, this is an added draw.
I have bought this book twice because it sounded just like what I like, but somehow I've never managed to finish it. It is book one in a series, the idea is that the Knights have just been forced underground and they are seeking justice.
Good for someone just getting started in mystery (predictable, clues gone over more than once). Interesting historical backdrop.
One of The First Knights Templar Mystery books set in 1316. Full of dark murder and chaos in the middle ages. Interesting read.
very good book I couldnt put it down.
I enjoyed this medieval mystery. A very good read.
This is an interesting mystery series, set in the middle ages. If you like history and mysteries, you will enjoy Jecks' writing.
While this book was a good 'murder mystery', felt historically accurate and had good characterization, it had too much introspection and description for me. I found myself skimming or even skipping paragraphs to quickly get to what was happening next.
Perhaps it was my mood, as I did read it in one day and felt in a hurry to finish all 374 pages. However, I have the next book in this long series and I'll read that soon to give the characters a second chance.
I did not finish this book. Got about a third of the way. This read like it was Jecks' first novel. Maybe it is. Plot moves slowly. Uninteresting, at least to me. Too many "...as if's....".
Well developed characters. Not a ton of adventure but a good story nonetheless. Relatively accurate to period. Looking for the next one.
The story takes place in Paris in 1314 where the last Templar witnesses the destruction of the order of the crusades. The next part of the book is about a mystery in Devon where the newly appointed bailiff of Lydford castle Simon Puttock works together with Sir Baldwin Furnshill work out the guilty party of 2 murders.