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Death and the Devil (original 2003; edition 2010)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061349488, Hardcover)It's the year 1260 and the great cathedral - the most ambitious building in all of Christendom - is rising above the streets of Cologne. Far below its soaring spires and flying buttresses, an assassin of unnatural talent surveys his new hunting ground. More shadow than man, the assassin is quick to take his first life. But there is a witness to his crime: a flame-haired thief known as Jacob the Fox. Justly terrified by the black-clad spectre, Jacob runs for his life, convinced that he's pursued by the Angel of Death itself. For all his street-smart cunning, the wily Fox cannot shake off the assassin - a cruel, efficient murderer who favours a pistol-grip crossbow as his weapon of choice. Fate, injury and desperation lead Jacob to seek help from a beautiful clothes dyer, her drunken rascal of a father, and her learned uncle, a man of God who loves a battle of wits almost as much as he loves a bottle of wine. With the threat of an untimely death at the end of a crossbow bolt never far way, Jacob's unlikely cabal find themselves faced with a conspiracy born of an unquenchable thirst for revenge, a conspiracy that threatens to tear Cologne apart and stain the city with blood.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:35 -0400)
The author uses the death of real-life architect Gerhard Morart, the designer of the cathedral of Cologne, as his starting point for this compelling historical suspense novel. Work on what would become the most famous church in Germany has been underway for a dozen years in 1260 when Morart falls from the unfinished building's roofmurdered, in the author's fictional scenario, as the result of a shadowy conspiracy. Unfortunately for the plotters, Jacob the Fox, a thief known for his fiery red hair, witnesses the act and actually hears the victim's dying words, leading the murderers to target Jacob and anyone he might have spoken to. The main mystery revolves around the motives of the plotters, whose identities aren't kept secret
(summary from another edition)
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