Cursed in the Blood

Sharan Newman, Author, Newman, Author Forge $23.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-312-86567-2
In the fifth book of the Catherine LeVendeur series (after Strong as Death, 1996), Newman once again brings medieval times to life. Catherine, Edgar and their baby, James, leave France for Scotland after receiving news that Edgar's two oldest brothers and his nephew have recently been ambushed and murdered. Meeting her in-laws for the first time, Catherine learns that Edgar's harsh father is hated by all his subjects and feared by his family, especially his second wife. The patriarch is worried not only about his family troubles but also about the disputed bishopric of Durham. After the men ride off to help William Cumin win the see and also find the killer of Edgar's brothers, Catherine befriends her husband's stepmother and the woman's daughter. She also discovers an emaciated anonymous prisoner on the estate whom no one knows about. When the manor burns to the ground, she, James, the stepmother, the stepmother's daughter and the prisoner save themselves and seek asylum on an island cloister. While Edgar becomes more embroiled in the religious war and Catherine fights to keep her surrogate family alive, they come to realize that someone is trying to wipe out Edgar's family and, separately, they both slowly hone in on the culprit. If the pace is slow and the language sometimes anachronistically modern, Newman nevertheless manages to render the complicated matters of state and church interesting and comprehensible. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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