The fifth Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mystery, The Unlikely Spy, is available now in both ebook and paperback!
The Unlikely Spy
August 1146. Prince Hywel has called all the bards of Wales to him for a music festival to mark the third anniversary of his rule over Ceredigion. He has invited all the lords of Wales too, including his father, his uncle, and his neighbor to the south, King Cadell. But with the highborn also come the low: thieves, spies, and other hangers-on. And when a murderer strikes as the festival starts, Gareth and Gwen are charged with discovering his identity—before the death of a peasant shakes the throne of a king.
Bwlch y Ddeufaen – Boolk ah THEY-vine (the ‘th’ is soft as in ‘forth’)
Cadfael – CAD-vile
Cadwallon – Cad-WA/SH/-on
Caernarfon – (‘ae’ makes a long i sound like in ‘kite’) Kire-NAR-von
Dafydd – DAH-vith
Dolgellau – Doll-GE/SH/-ay
Deheubarth – deh-HAY-barth
Dolwyddelan – dole-with-EH-lan (the ‘th’ is soft as in ‘forth’)
Gruffydd – GRIFF-ith
Gwalchmai – GWALK-my (‘ai’ makes a long i sound like in ‘kite)
Gwenllian – Gwen-/SH/EE-an
Gwladys – Goo-LAD-iss
Gwynedd – GWIN-eth
Hywel – H’wel
Ieuan – ieu sounds like the cheer, ‘yay’ so YAY-an
Llywelyn – /sh/ew-ELL-in
Maentwrog – MIGHNT-wrog
Meilyr – MY-lir
Owain – OH-wine
Rhuddlan – RITH-lan
Rhun – Rin
Rhys – Reese
Sion – Shawn
Tudur – TIH-deer
Usk – Isk
Hallowmas 1144. With the harvest festival approaching, Gareth has returned from fighting in the south, hoping for a few months of peace with Gwen before the birth of their first child. But when an innocent foray to the beach turns up the murdered body of Prince Hywel’s long lost cousin, a woman thought to have run away with a Dane five years earlier, it is Gareth and Gwen who are charged with discovering her killer. The trail has long since gone cold, or so Gareth and Gwen think, until their investigation threatens to expose dangerous truths that everyone else from king to killer would prefer to keep buried.
No secret is safe, and no man, whether lord or peasant, can escape the spirit of Hallowmas in The Fallen Princess, the fourth Gareth and Gwen medieval mystery.
Ellis Peters began her Brother Cadfael series in 1977 with A Morbid Taste for Bones. Twenty books later, she wrote Brother Cadfael’s Penance, my personal favorite. She saved the best for last, as she died in October, 1995.
Here’s the pitch for the final book: “For Brother Cadfael in the autumn of his life, the mild November of our Lord’s year 1145 may bring a bitter–and deadly–harvest. England is torn between supporters of the Empress Maud and those of her cousin Stephen. The civil strife is about to jeopardize not only Cadfael’s life, but his hopes of Heaven.
While Cadfael has sometimes bent the Abbey’s rules, he has never broken his monastic vows–until now. Word has come to Shrewsbury of a treacherous act that has left thirty of Maud’s knights imprisoned. All have been ransomed except Cadfael’s secret son, Olivier de Bretagne. Conceived in Cadfael’s soldiering youth and unaware of his father’s identity, Olivier will die if he is not freed. Like never before, Cadfael must boldly defy the abbot. The good brother forsakes the order to follow his heart–but what he finds will challenge his soul.” http://www.fictiondb.com/author/ellis-peters~brother-cadfaels-penance~41709~b.htm
“Cadfael is a Welshman, now in his 60s, and a Brother in the monastery of Saints Peter and Paul, in Shrewsbury, England. The time is the 1100s, while Stephen and Maud are contending for the throne of England. Cadfael is now a brother, but he has been in the world- he spent 15 (or so) years in the Mideast, first as a Crusader, then as captain of a fishing boat. While there, he began to learn about gardening and herbs, he loved several women and even fathered a son, although he did not know it at the time. Finally, the quiet, the peace of the monastery called to him, and he came home to England and took vows. When the series begins, he has been a brother for about 15 years. His adventures are all centered in life in the Monastery, which is the center of his life, but they also show that he has not turned away completely from the world.” http://wellscs.com/ann/reading/cadfael.htm
Did I mention that I LOVE THIS BOOK! This book is about Cadfael’s heart. He loves his Church. He loves his way of life. And yet, he is willing to sacrifice what he’s worked so hard to build–and his life–for the life of his son. There is no more poignant moment than when he closes the door on his herb hut and walks away.
Because he’s Cadfael, he ends up meddling in the affairs of men far above him on the social ladder, and changing the course of the endless war between Stephen and Maud.
A Morbid Taste for Bones, which begins Cadfael’s adventures, takes place in Wales for the most part. Readers of my The Good Knight will recognize the setting.