Fiction Book Reviews
Book Review: The Tarnished Chalice by Susanna Gregory
By Angela Youngman Oct 4, 2006, 21:54 GMT
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.