‘Everywhere in England is dangerous these days …’
In March 1322, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster was beheaded. He had cursed Andrew Harclay:
‘You, miserable dog, Andrew Harclay will die a traitor’s death within one year, as the Lord is my witness.’
Soon after Thomas’s death, miracles were reported at his tomb at Pontefract, and he became venerated as a martyr and saint.
Andrew Harclay’s star appeared to be rising when King Edward II made him the Earl of Carlisle.
But in March 1323, he is executed as a traitor. His crime? He negotiated with rebels without the permission of Edward II, a treasonous act. With his last breaths, he was heard to curse all of those with a hand in his death, including Edward II. After the royal executioner is found dead in Pontrefact shortly afterwards, it is rumoured that Harclay’s curse is at work. Edward II believes that Cratwell’s death is due to rebels, and sends Sir Richard Lee, Circuit Judge of the Northern Realm, to investigate.
There are more deaths, and fear of the curse continues to spread. Sir Richard believes that the deaths are linked, but how?
Mr Moray brings fourteenth century England to life with his deft characterisations and details. And while Sir Richard investigates, we learn about the life of the Summoner, whose knowledge of the secrets of individuals brings him benefit as he makes note of their sins. Some will be summoned to before the ecclesiastical court, others will offer bribes. Curse, miracles, and superstition all have a part to play in this second instalment of Mr Moray’s Sandal Castle Medieval thriller series.
Occasionally I had to stop reading to learn some new (to me) medieval terms, but this enhanced my enjoyment of the story. I am looking forward to the next instalment.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.