Prince Charles’s interests antagonize Masons, former hippies and an ultra-secret cadre devoted to Knights Templar history.
The Duchy of Cornwall has purchased the Garway Master House and environs for Prince Charles and plans to turn it into a major craft center snuggled on the border between England and Wales. Then, strange happenings bring Merrily Watkins, Deliverance Coordinator for the Church of England. When two people die, Merrily is advised to resolve matters before the upcoming Friday the 13th anniversary of Jacques de Molay’s 1307 torture and demise. The antagonistic history of the church and the Knights Templar is echoed by the warring Gwilym and Newton families and the current English bishop and archdeacon’s ties to the Masonic order. In addition, Welsh nationalists may be plotting to reseat one of their own as Prince of Wales. A local vicar, a squire and a peer of the realm, formerly hippies in residence at the Master House, will mislead Merrily, her musician lover Lol and her daughter Jane before there’s a discovery and a fog-shrouded collision near an herbalist’s cottage.
Rickman (The Remains of an Altar, 2007, etc.), a historian of the first order, neatly segues between church policies of today and seven centuries ago. Be prepared to read slowly, maybe even take notes.