Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: The Tarnished Chalice by Susanna Gregory

By Angela Youngman Oct 5, 2006, 1:54 GMT

Book Review: The Tarnished Chalice by Susanna Gregory

Another in the Matthew Bartholomew series set in medieval England. This time, Matthew and his sidekick Brother Michael are in Lincoln where Brother Michael has been appointed a Canon.

Thoughts of a quiet visit are quickly dismissed as soon as they arrive. The city is in turmoil, with disputes between two opposing groups of tradesmen - gang wars medieval style! The cathedral clergy are out of control, openly wearing swords, fighting, whoring and even running a tavern within the cathedral precincts!

A murder has already taken place - the victim being the person Brother Michael has appointed as his low paid assistant.  What is the link with a holy relic which was last seen over twenty years earlier? More unnatural deaths start taking place; and Matthew soon realizes he is one of the targets.

A very unsavoury and unholy situation develops - especially when more and more copies of the holy relic start appearing. Linked into this is Matthew's search for his elusive lady love Matilde, who cannot be found anywhere.

A very solid story, detailed and full of very unsavoury characters. Definitely a good way of learning about the low life of Medieval England and its disreputable practices. The pace could be quicker, at times it does drag a little and it is hard to keep track of what is happening. Perhaps a little editing would be helpful.



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