Demon Archer

Paul C. Doherty, Author Minotaur Books $22.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-27287-6
The prolific Doherty brings us another masterful English medieval tale featuring Sir Hugh Corbett, who's still recovering from a bad wound received in his last outing, The Devil's Hunt (1998). It's 1303 and Edward I sends Corbett, Clerk of the Secret Seal, to Ashdown to investigate the death of Lord Henry Fitzalan, shot through the heart by an arrow. Lord Henry was Edward's proposed emissary to Phillip, the king of France, regarding the marriage of Edward's son, Prince William, to Phillip's daughter, Isabella. It was rumored that Lord Henry knew dark secrets about the French king. Shortly after Corbett and faithful manservant Ranulf arrive in Ashdown, they amass a list of possible suspects, since the lecherous, selfish Lord Henry gave many people motive for murder. As they proceed with their inquiries, the arrows continue to fly and the body count mounts. Fearing he'll be the next victim, Corbett coolly uses deductive reasoning to uncover the truth and wind things up in a cleverly wrought conclusion. Authentic historical details enhance a well-told story filled with political intrigues, corruption in the church and personal vendettas. Of particular note are the inquiries conducted by Corbett that not only reveal the souls of the characters but create a vivid portrait of the evil Lord Henry. Though some readers will be put off by the ""scholarly"" period vocabulary, most fans will gratefully enter, and regretfully leave, Doherty's beautifully realized medieval world. (Apr. 2)
Reviewed on: 03/01/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
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