Medieval physician Matthew Bartholomew returns for his latest case amongst rumours of war
In 1360 Edward III issues a call to arms, as sporadic attacks by the French threaten to turn into a full-blown invasion. In Cambridge, fear of the enemy is magnified by the belief that foreign agents are lurking in the area. Tension runs ever higher as rumours and ignorance fan the flames of suspicion amid preparations for war.
And then the first murder occurs - of a French scholar living in the town.
At Michaelhouse, Brother Michael is now Master, but his reach of power in the University is under threat by the election of a new Chancellor and his cohort of dubious advisors. Soon, the Colleges begin to squabble amongst themselves, as well as with the town that never wanted a University in the first place.
Amidst this atmosphere of swelling distrust, physician Matthew Bartholomew is called upon to investigate mysterious deaths in a nearby hospital. He quickly realises that there is something odd about the inmates and their keepers - something dark and deadly, which seems to be connected to the growing number of murders in the town. Pressure mounts as the University and the town clamour for answers, leading Bartholomew and Michael in a frantic quest for a solution before the powder-keg of animosity in Cambridge is ignited.
Susanna Gregory writes with fluency and energy, avoids archaic vocabulary, despite her 14th-century setting and, having had a career as an academic, bases the stories in this enjoyable series on careful research - Literary Review
Susanna Gregory has an extraordinary ability to conjure up a strong sense of time and place - Choice
Intrigue, detection, and action are blended perfectly with plot elements drawn from historical details that make the era come to life - Publisher's Weekly
Susanna Gregory was a police officer in Leeds before taking up an academic career. She has served as an environmental consultant, worked seventeen field seasons in the polar regions, and has taught comparative anatomy and biological anthropology.
She is the creator of the Matthew Bartholomew series of mysteries set in medieval Cambridge and the Thomas Chaloner adventures in Restoration London, and now lives in Wales with her husband, who is also a writer.