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About the Book:
- Print Length: 296 pages
- Publisher: Diversion Books (July 26, 2015)
“Robb deftly interweaves a complex story of love, passion and murder into the troubled and tangled fabric of Welsh history, fashioning a rich and satisfying novel.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Under the pretense of escorting his father-in-law and the archbishop’s secretary on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of St. David’s in Wales, Owen Archer and Geoffrey Chaucer are carrying out a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. England and France are at war, and the southern coast of Wales is vulnerable to invasion—Owen and Geoffrey are to recruit archers for the duke’s army and inspect his Welsh fortifications on the coast, while quietly investigating whether the duke’s steward at Cydweli Castle is involved in a French plot to incite rebellion in Wales.
But trouble precedes them in the cathedral city of St. David’s. On Whitesands Beach beyond the city a young man is beaten and left for dead, then spirited away by a Welsh bard. Shortly afterward a corpse clothed in the livery of the Duke of Lancaster is left at the city gate, his shoes filled with white sand. And at Cydweli Castle a chain of events begun by the theft of money from the castle’s exchequer ends in a violent death and the disappearance of the steward’s beautiful young wife. Owen and Geoffrey begin to see connections linking the troubles in city and castle, and see they must unravel the complex story of betrayed love and political ambition to prevent more deaths.
But in the course of his investigations in the land of his birth, Owen is haunted by doubts about his own loyalties…
About the Author:
Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalist—but on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrong’s undergraduate class on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candace’s ears adjusted to the middle English—and she was hooked. Chaucer’s psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since she’s been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and establishing her own role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.
Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.
Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat.
CONNECT WITH CANDACE
This sixth entry in the Owen Archer series moves our hero out of his usual milieu and has him returning to the land of his birth – Wales. England is at war with France and Owen is dispatched to find 40 archers to help protect a vulnerable area. He takes off with Geoffrey Chaucer so again we have that wonderful mix of fictional and historical characters blending beautifully together to tell a tale.
Of course nothing can go easily or as planned when it comes to our intrepid hero. Where would he be without a mystery to solve? In this case though the deaths aren’t as focal as is Owen’s feelings about being back in Wales. It brings up a range of emotions for a man who is not used to being overly introspective. He is also away from his Lucie for a long period of time and he – and the reader if truth be told – misses her terribly. She really does add to the stories.
I found this book to be back on track from the last one which was good, but it was one that I didn’t enjoy as much as the others. A Gift of Sanctuary is full of great characters both old and familiar and some new ones that bring a depth to the story. It’s never easy to go home again whether you are a fictional hero or an everyday person. It leaves Owen with much to consider and that only benefits the reader.
You can read my review of The Nun’s Tale