cover image A Plague of Lies

A Plague of Lies

Judith Rock. Berkley, $15 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-25310-6

In Rock’s fine third 17th-century historical featuring Paris rhetoric teacher Charles de Luc (after 2011’s The Eloquence of Blood), Charles and his mentor, Père Joseph Jouvancy, transport a reliquary to Versailles, a gift to the king’s unofficial second wife, Madame de Maintenon, to gain her support for the Society of Jesus at Louis XIV’s court. Soon after their arrival, the Comte de Fleury, a sadistic military commander with whom Charles has been at odds, dies after an accidental tumble down some stairs. Before long, the palace is roiled by rumors that de Fleury was poisoned, and that the poisoner has other victims in mind. A clear case of murder by blunt instrument also concerns Charles, who must do his detecting in an especially intense political atmosphere. Diligent research allows Rock to seamlessly blend her fictional additions to the time of the Sun King with the historical record. Agent: Damaris Rowland, Damaris Rowland Agency. (Oct.)