Most of the ``bloody chess game'' in this seventh Hugh Corbett medieval mystery (after Murder Wears a Cowl) is played in or near Nottingham, where the sheriff has been poisoned and a masked bandit has sliced off the fingertips of King Edward's tax collector. Has Robin Hood, pardoned by the king, returned to Sherwood Forest after fighting for the Crown in Scotland? But what a changed Robin! He and his outlaws, no longer heroes to the common folk, now slaughter savagely and with little discrimination. The king sends Corbett, his trusted senior clerk and Keeper of the Secret Seal, to investigate the sheriff's slaying. At the same time, Corbett is dodging Achitophel, an elusive assassin sent after him by King Philip of France, and struggling to solve a captured cipher that holds the key to where in Flanders Philip will attack England's allies, the Flemings. As Doherty's cinematic descriptions zero in on hangings, throat-slittings and torture, with filth, stench and gore galore, Corbett battles his way to a smashing-if predictable-solution. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994 Release date: 09/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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