The Poisoned Serpent

Joan Wolf, Author
Joan Wolf, Author HarperCollins $23 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-019239-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 384 pages - 978-0-06-109746-1
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-196990-4
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Twelfth-century England provides the setting for Wolf's second medieval mystery (following No Dark Place), which serves up history and intrigue in equal measure. Stephen is the English king, but his crown and his kingdom are prey to shifting allegiances. Hugh de Leon, heir to the earl of Wiltshire, has given his heart and pledge to lovely Cristen Haslin, daughter of Lord Sommerford. But such a marriage does nothing to benefit Guy de Leon, earl of Wiltshire. Instead, the earl has arranged for Hugh to marry the lovely Elizabeth de Beaut , heiress to the earl of Lincoln. Elizabeth, in turn, is determined to refuse Hugh in favor of another. The murder of Gilbert de Beaut , earl of Lincoln, casts suspicion directly on one of Hugh's supporters, and indirectly on Hugh himself. As Hugh strives to prove the innocence of that supporter, he finds himself at odds with the sheriff of Lincoln's son, a foe since childhood. Handsome knights and strong, beautiful ladies perform here against some absorbing set pieces, including a game that resembles a huge rugby scrum and a trial as held by England's chief justiciar. Bold and bright characters, plenty of romance and a healthy dash of mystery and murder enliven this engaging novel. (May)
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