Baldwin de Furnshill, Simon Puttock and Sir Richard de Welles return from an eventful trip to France (The Templar, the Queen and her Lover, 2008) to find just as much unrest at home in 1325.
No one ensures a bright homecoming by telling a furious King Edward II that his queen and his heir have chosen to remain in France and live among Edward’s many enemies. Although Baldwin and his friends are eager to see their families, their joy in returning is muted by the enmity of the king’s favorite, Sir Hugh le Despenser, an evil man second in wealth and power only to Edward. The England they have returned to is a lawless place. A group of travelers have just been murdered in their beloved Devon by outlaw knight Sir Robert de Traci and his servants. Missing from the murder scene is the silver sent as a fine by the troubled Abbey of Tavistock, to which the Pope has sent a negotiator charged with choosing between the two men seeking the abbacy. The returning friends barely have time to greet their wives before duty calls. As Simon and Sir Richard investigate the grisly murders, Simon’s desperate daughter Edith begs Baldwin to help her young husband, who’s been arrested for treason by the perfidious sheriff of Exeter. When Edith is kidnapped and sent to de Traci’s castle, old friendships are put to the test.
An adventurous tale with less history and more mystery than Jecks’ usual fare.