cover image A Dead Man's Secret

A Dead Man's Secret

Simon Beaufort, Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-6972-2

In Beaufort's intricate, meticulously researched eighth historical featuring Sir Geoffrey Mappestone (after 2010's The Bloodstained Throne), Henry, the English king, orders the former crusader knight to southern Wales in the fall of 1103 to deliver letters to local dignitaries and assess rival church leaders. Henry, whom Sir Geoffrey considers "devious and dangerous," also charges him with discovering the secret held by a Norman knight who died seven years earlier in the Welsh port of Kermerdyn. Before the start of the journey, someone fatally stabs the scribe who wrote the letters. Sir Geoffrey, an honorable man, must put up with disagreeable traveling companions, whose duplicity and self-interest he finds difficult to stomach—and whose machinations leave men wounded, ill, and poisoned. A surprise twist leads to a shocking conclusion. Subtle clues allow the reader to figure out what's going on before Sir Geoffrey does. (Mar.)