The Awful Secret Bernard Knight once more takes us back to the twelfth century when Sir John de Wolfe, Devon's first county coroner, travelled the county investigating murder and mayhem and attempting to bring order to the chaos and violence that surrounded him.
Following his adventures on the tourney field, Crowner John has been unable to carry out his duties due to a broken leg. But with the vigorous, if resentful, nursing of his wife Matilda, he is finally able to get back on his horse unaided. And just in time, because John is being stalked by a mysterious figure, who seems to be watching his every move.
Intrigued and irritated by this presence, John's henchman Gwyn finally manages to catch up with the man and no one is more surprised than John at the identity of his stalker…
Gilbert de Rideford is a Knight of the Temple of Solomon, and an acquaintance from John and Gwyn's crusading days. He claims to have come into possession of an awful secret that could shake Christendom to its very foundations. He desperately needs John's help to escape from the secretive order of warrior monks - an order so powerful that they lend money to Kings and are answerable only to the Pope. Sceptical, but nevertheless intrigued, John agrees to help, but when three Knights Templar and an important Papal messenger arrive in Exeter, John begins to take Gilbert seriously.
Suddenly, John is swept into a world of religious intrigue and dangerous politics which takes him on a life-threatening mission to the Island of Lundy - inhabited solely by notorious pirates - and finally leads him to the revelation of Gilbert's secret, and a new found belief in the terrible wrath of God.
British Pbk Original - Pocket Books (1999)
Crowner's Quest See Review by
Meticulously researched and resonant with the sights and sounds of the time, Bernard Knight skillfully brings Medieval England, with its dangerous politics and power struggles, to life. Many of the characters actually existed in medieval Devon, but as Professor Knight explains "Crowner John had to be fictitious, because the name of the first coroner was never recorded."
Christmas Eve, 1194. Sir John de Wolfe gratefully escapes a party being given by his wife Matilda, to examine the body of a Canon who has been found hanged. Suicide is suspected, but it is soon apparent that there is more to this case than meets the eye. As always, John's investigations are hampered by his brother-in-law, the sheriff Sir Richard de Revelle. But when a local lord is killed, John begins to suspect that the cases are linked and Sir Richard's reasons for delaying the investigation may be more serious than the usual petty vengeance.
desperately trying to deflect Sir Richard's plots against him, John is soon at loggerheads with Matilda, and even his mistress Nesta. And as he digs deeper, he uncovers a deadly conspiracy that could cost him far more than the women in his life.
British Pbk Original - Pocket Books (1998)
The Poisoned Chalice December, 1194. The well-born ladies of Exeter are not having a good week. First, Christina Rifford, the daughter of a rich merchant, is raped. Then, just months before her marriage, Lady Adele de Courcy is found dead in one of the poorest areas of Exeter. The common factor is Godfrey Fitzosbern, the local silversmith. But despite Crowner John's suspicions and the vengeful accusations of the families of the two girls, it is John's duty to protect Godfrey until he can find proof of his guilt.
Aided by his mistress, Nesta, and hindered by his social-climbing wife Matilda and her power-hungry brother Sheriff Richard de Revelle, John slowly begins to put the pieces together. But a final, brutal act of violence brings a new twist to John's investigation before he finally arrives at the truth.
British Pbk Original - Pocket Books (1998)
The Sanctuary Seeker November 1194 AD, appointed by Richard the Lionheart as the first coroner for the county of Devon, Sir John de Wolfe, an ex-crusader, rides out to the lonely moorland village of Widecombe to hold an inquest on an unidentified body. But on his return to Exeter the coroner is incensed to find that his own brother-in-law, Sheriff Richard de Revelle, is intent on thwarting the murder investigation, particularly when it emerges that the dead man is a Crusader and a member of one of Devon's finest and most honorable families.
But Crowner John is ready to fight for the truth, even faced with the combined mights of the all-powerful Church and nobility....…