Top positive review
An unlikely pair of sleuths
11 June 2018
What I like best about this novel are its 2 leading characters. Dipsomaniacal and non-combative Hugo Stanton and the pedantic court clerk Aelred Barling work well together (despite mutual dislike) to eventually ferret out an evil murderer. They have pasts which haunt them; what those pasts are is still to be fully revealed, though Stanton is a character we have met before in the second of the Powell's Fifth Knight books). I suspect later books in the series will give more of their backstories.
Powell does her history well; this story is set in 1176 during Henry II's reign - if other readers are like me they may thank their stars we do not live in the age of fixed status, monumental suspicion and bigotry in which our unlikely pair of sleuths have to function. The pace and plotting are very effective, and the climax/resolution comes as a credible surprise. Well worth a read and a book that welcomes the second in the series (as of June 2018 yet to be released).