Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Queen’s Man by Sharon Day Penman

A Medieval Mystery

The Queen’s Man is set in the English Court during the time King Richard is being held for ransom and his brother John is plotting to take the throne.  Justin de Quincy finds out that his father is the Bishop who raised him as an orphan.  This discovery leads Justin into a situation without money or prospects and he starts for London where he might find a job as a scribe.  On the road he hears a cry for help and recues a merchant and his servant from robbers.  The merchant is gravely wounded and before he dies asks Justin to deliver the letter he is carrying to London to Queen Eleanor. 

The letter tells Eleanor that her son Richard is alive and being held hostage.  Eleanor takes Justin into her service and sends him to find out who hired the men to attack and kill the merchant carrying the letter.  Suddenly Justin is in the middle of the politics between Eleanor and her son John.  The path takes Justin from Winchester to the lowest parts of London as he follows the trail of the men hired to kill the merchant.  He finds that he has trouble telling who is a friend and who is an enemy.  Through out it all he is the Queens Man and brings the truth to Eleanor.    

Sharon Kay Penman has written several historical fiction novels set in this same time period.  This is her first mystery novel and she has used her research to good advantage.  While the story is fiction the historical characters and events are portrayed with great accuracy.  The Queen’s Man is set in a time of great turmoil and there are many good mysteries left of Justin to solve.  The Queen’s Man is a great start to a mystery series .

Henry Holt and Company published The Queen’s Man by Sharon Kay Penman in 1996.  The Queen's Man is out of print.

I checked out The Queen’s Man from the Rogers, AR Public Library.

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