Prince of Darkness, by Sharon Kay Penman

Prince+of+DarknessI thought I had read all of Sharon Kay Penman’s novels about Justin DeQuincy, medieval spy and sometime sleuth, but it appears I’d missed this one, although it’s been out for several years. This series of books does a great job of showing the complex political world of England during the reign of mostly-absentee king Richard I through the eyes of a minor fictional character who gets drawn into quite a lot of political intrigue. Justin is “the Queen’s man,” i.e. in the service of the dowager queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, but he often ends up in the presence of the complex, ambitious, dark prince John, who is always at odds with his royal brother and mother. Justin is an appealing character, a bit of an innocent in a world that doesn’t reward innocence, but he always seems to come out on top in each adventure. Prince of Darkness starts as a spy story that becomes a murder mystery, and is an enjoyable visit to a medieval world you probably wouldn’t want to live in.

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Filed under Fiction -- historical

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