In a battle between King and Pope, the people are the losers.
England, 1210. Now that King John has been excommunicated, his men are collecting ruinous amounts from religious orders, churches are closing and people everywhere are feeling the withdrawal of charity. Certain that Hawkenlye Abbey is on the King’s hit list, Abbess Caliste fears for the future. Helewise, the former abbess, has moved to Josse d’Acquin’s manor, where he lives with Meggie, Geoffroi, and his adopted son Ninian, all offspring of his former love Joanna, the mystical follower of the old religion. When Helewise’s granddaughter Rosamund disappears, an intensive search eventually discloses that she has been taken by one of the King’s men. Even worse, another man is found dead in the course of the search. Although King John returns Rosamund to Hawkenlye, Josse’s troubles have only begun, for Ninian is suspected of the killing and must flee to France. Once more, Josse and Helewise, with help from Meggie, must put their talents to solving the crime so that Ninian can return home.
Not the best Hawkenlye mystery (The Joys of My Life, 2009, etc.), but the well-conceived story and historical detail continue to please.