Third in the excellent historical mystery series set in Elizabethan England and Scotland. Sir Robert Carey goes after a shipment of guns that were stolen and then replaced with defective ones; one of Carey's men has his hand blown off. Fantastic sense of place and time. Carey, although experienced in the treacheries of the royal court, is again shown to be somewhat inexperienced in the absolute corruptness of the border region. Sergeant Dodd, surprising even himself, is helping him learn the ropes. The gun plot twists and turns several times before the final resolution, which left me shaking my head in sympathy for Carey. I think a new reader could start here, but much more fun to begin with the first book.
This is another Robert Carey novel. And like anything on the border between Scottland and England, things are not what they seem. And in this one, there are a multitude of twists.
It starts with a night patrol that encounters a German fugitive from Scottland, then a bursting handgun during a skirmish. From there it moves to Carey's inspection of the weapons received at Castle Carlisle from the Tower in London (after being done out of the armory clerkship - an office he could sell), the Muster and a brazen theft from the armory at castle Carlisle. After that, Carey and the long suffering Sergeant Dodd head to Dumfries Scottland, home of its arms industry and where King James is holding court.
I can't give too much away without spoiling it - its twistey. Very twistey with multiple overlapping plots, schemes and players. Still, its pretty good. The plots are brought to resolution, but in a way I didn't expect. It does give an excellent feel for the period and region. The characters seem very real - different from us. Carey is unusual in that he believes in the rule of law (which I'm not sure is authentic), but otherwise he's the self-important popinjay, but a skilled soldier and intriguer nonetheless. Dodd is ... Dodd. Calm and very much a product of the area and time.
All I need is Plague of Angels and I'll have finished all the Robert Carey novels, which is a shame. Still, there are her other Elizabethan novels.