cover image The Paths of the Air

The Paths of the Air

Alys Clare, . . Severn, $28.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6636-3

Clare's absorbing 11th entry in her Hawkenlye series (The Enchanter's Forest , etc.) highlights the many perils of life in medieval England. One cold November day in 1196, an exhausted stranger arrives at the estate of Sir Josse d'Acquin, a loyal soldier of the king bored with inactivity. Josse gives the man shelter in an outbuilding, suspecting him to be the servant of a crusader recently returned from the Holy Land. After a fortnight, the stranger abruptly vanishes, then a body, brutalized beyond recognition, turns up in the nearby woods. Meanwhile, a prisoner exchange gone wrong has led to a hunt across Europe for a runaway monk carrying unknown treasure. Josse relies on Abbess Helewise of Hawkenlye Abbey for counsel and solace, while the local sheriff, Gervase de Gifford, helps Josse track down a secret with the potential to change warfare forever. A lurid subplot set in the Holy Land adds to the suspense. (Aug.)