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A Vigil of Spies by Candace Robb

A Vigil of Spies

by Candace Robb

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I am very comfortable with this series now and the main characters are like old friends. The decline and death of Archbishop Thoresby was well handled. It did have a feeling of finality about it, even though the author says in her end note that she has not yet finished with Owen Archer. ( )
  john257hopper | Aug 10, 2011 |
This is the tenth in the Owen Archer series, set in and around York in the 14th century. The Archbishop of York, John Thoresby, whom Owen serves as captain of the guard, is near death at his home, Bishopthorpe; he receives as guests in his household a royal visitor and representatives of several powerful families and churchmen who are jostling for position and influence after his death. A couple of deaths occur which appear suspicious, and Owen tries to investigate, while seeking to preserve the peace and quiet his lord needs as he prepares for his death. Among this 'vigil of spies' is Geoffrey Chaucer, who appears in several books in this series as a slightly ambiguous minor character.

The concentration of the action almost entirely at Bishopthorpe Palace gives this particular story the feel of a Agatha Christie-style country-house mystery. Confined to the Palace until the situation is resolved, Owen is unable to visit his wife Lucie and family in nearby York. These have featured much more largely in previous books in the series, and their enforced separation, together with the uncertainty about their future when Owen's employer eventually dies, add further sources of tension to the plot, alongside the political and religious tensions surrounding the death of a senior ecclesiastical figure.

Another enjoyable read in this fairly undemanding series with sympathetic leading characters and (unobtrusive) well-researched background. I look forward to reading what happens to Owen and Lucie next. 4 stars. ( )
  gennyt | Jul 19, 2010 |
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September, 1373. John Thoresby, the Archbishop of York lies dying. During a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, one of her party is murdered. Then, only days later, a messenger carrying urgent letters for Thoresby is found hanging in the woods. Owen Archer, Thorseby's master of the guards, races against time to find the murderer.… (more)

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