cover image King’s Gold

King’s Gold

Michael Jecks. Simon & Schuster U.K. (IPG, dist.), $24.95 (518p) ISBN 978-1-84737-902-3

Rebel forces cause Edward II, England’s unpopular king, to flee London at the violent start of Jecks’s engaging 30th Knights Templar mystery featuring Sir Baldwin de Furnshill and Simon Puttock (after 2010’s The Oath). The deposed monarch finds refuge in the Cotswolds, where Sir Baldwin and Simon are among his protectors. The Bardis, members of a Florentine banking family who have provided Edward with financial support, play a major role in the action, which revolves around plots to seize the English throne, several killings in London, and the appearance of a cache of gold. Jecks once again brings early 14th-century England to life with his encyclopedic knowledge of the period, though he’s less dexterous handling the large cast of characters, many of whom blur together. Series fans will eagerly await the sequel. (Nov.)