An Ancient Evil: The Knight's Tale of Mystery and Murder as He Goes on Pilgrimage from London to Canterbury

Paul C. Doherty, Author
Paul C. Doherty, Author St. Martin's Press $21 (248p) ISBN 978-0-312-11740-5
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-7089-3409-8
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The author of the Hugh Corbett medieval stories (Murder Wears a Cowl) begins a new series based on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The pilgrims decide to ease the hardship of their journey with tales told by each of them in turn. The Knight is first off with this story of the Strigoi, a demon who, with his minions, drinks human blood and can be destroyed only by fire. Two centuries earlier, Sir Hugo Mortimer of Oxfordshire, under orders from King William, captured the Strigoi and buried him alive beneath his tower keep. Now, in the Oxford of the 1400s, corpses drained of blood keep turning up. Sir Godfrey Evesden, a blind woman exorcist and a young Scotsman are commissioned by the King to seek out and destroy the murderer. The three roam the reeking streets of Oxford, the corridors of the University and the Trinitarian friary built over the Strigoi's old keep. After several hair-raising encounters with the undead, they end their mission in a sea battle. Or do they? The Strigoi will doubtless rise again. Doherty's masterly evocation of medieval England will leave readers looking forward to the tale of the Wife of Bath. (Apr.)
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