cover image Crowner’s Crusade

Crowner’s Crusade

Bernard Knight. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8221-9

Both established fans and newcomers will appreciate Knight’s engaging 15th mystery featuring Sir John de Wolfe (after 2010’s A Plague of Heretics), a prequel. In October 1192, after 18 months of combat in the Holy Land, a dejected Richard the Lion-Hearted reaches a truce with Muslim leader Saladin, a decision not without controversy. To return to England safely, Richard and his troops, including de Wolfe, have a difficult route to navigate, with enemies at almost every turn. Months later, de Wolfe makes it home to Devonshire, only to encounter a murder mystery: someone has cut the throat of a man wearing a ring bearing the royal insignia. De Wolfe’s work leads to an appointment as king’s coroner, with a wide range of responsibilities, including tax collection and uncovering official corruption. Knight does his usual fine job of bringing the past to life, and the book’s first third makes plain his skill at crafting a straight historical novel. (Feb.)