For the third time, following An Ancient Evil (1994) and a Tapestry of Murders (1996), Doherty spins a lush mystery out of the ribaldly picturesque world of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It's 14th-Century England, and the Black Prince, black plague and bloody war with France are all raging. The narrator is the Franklin, who tells a tale of murder, treachery and honor. As Sir Gilbert Savage lies dying on the French field at Poitiers, he calls his young squire, Richard Greenele, to his side and tells him to flee back to England and there seek out a lawyer who will reveal his true parentage to him, as well as how his father was framed and betrayed by one of his five trusted knights. So begins Richard's own pilgrimage, in which he acquires companions: an outlaw bowman of considerable skill; the beautiful and clever Emmeline; and the crafty Gildas. As Richard tries to solve the mystery of his origins and identity, he and his crew are pursued by an evil band of outlaws as they repair to his decaying and abandoned ancestral island home, Crokehurst. Richard summons the five knights to help him reclaim his home--and to discover which of them was the traitor. This swiftly moving tale has it all: a ghostly knight; bloody messages scrawled on walls; hand-to-hand combat; a heroine of beauty and wit; and a hero to restore justice to this one corner of the realm. (Sept.) FYI: P.C. Doherty writes other historical mysteries as Paul Harding and as Michael Clynes.
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997 Release date: 09/01/1997 Genre: Fiction