In his fourth adventure (Dragon’s Lair, 2003 etc.), Justin De Quincy, unacknowledged bastard son of the Bishop of Chester, is once again plunged into the dangerous work of “the Queen’s man.”
While Eleanor of Aquitaine is spending 1193 in Germany ransoming her eldest son Richard, and her youngest son John is plotting with the French King to keep Richard in captivity, De Quincey receives an urgent summons to Paris from Claudine, mother of his child. Prince John, it seems, needs him to help prove that a letter accusing John of planning to murder his brother is a forgery. John has been warned of the plot by his former mistress, Arzhela de Dinan of Brittany. Realizing that he will be serving the Queen’s interests after all, Justin makes an uneasy peace with John’s man Durand de Curzon, who had recently tried to kill him, in order to foil the plot. The ill-matched travelers arrive too late at Mont St. Michel to save Arzhela, who has been savagely stabbed, managing to utter only a single word before she dies. Justin and Durand, promptly thrown in a dungeon for Arzhela’s murder, barely escape with their lives. The spy known as the Breton seems to hold the key to the mystery, but finding him, unmasking the murderer, and solving John's problem will lead down dangerous paths for all involved.
A wonderfully evocative medieval mystery that weaves historical fact with characters intriguing enough and adventures exciting enough to lure even nonspecialists.