Ostara Publishing Colourfon

Ostara Publishing

18 Nov 2009
Books: The Ravens of Blackwater

School Library Journal


The second volume of this historical mystery series is set during the reign of William the Conqueror. The story begins as the king's agents journey to Maldon, Essex, to untangle and document the massive real-estate/legal mess resulting from the Norman takeover of Saxon holdings, and to enter their findings in the Domesday Book. Despite this dry-sounding beginning, the novel quickly picks up as lawyer Gervase Bret and his companions hear rumors enroute that all is not well in Maldon. The town has a very dark shadow indeed, in the family of FitzCorbucion of Blackwood Hall, Normans who have strong-armed and swindled their neighbors for years. Just as William's men arrive to settle accounts, the despicable eldest FitzCorbucion son is murdered. Since practically the entire population has good reason to wish ill of the family, Gervase Bret has to rely on perceptive detecting skill to uncover the identity of the killer. The kindness and humanity of this character will appeal to readers as he investigates those who seem to have the most at stake, including a young man in love with the FitzCorbucion daughter and the unjustly accused slave wronged by the family. Many YAs will like the clearly delineated good and evil characters, and the equal time given to teenage protagonists. History buffs will thoroughly enjoy this portrayal of life in 11th-century England.?Catherine Noonan, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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