This is the seventh book in the series featuring the one-eyed hero Owen Archer, and yet even though this is the first I’m reading in the series, I didn’t feel discombobulated in any sense. While some characters are referenced from another book, and the current characters have obviously aged more, the events taking place in the book have no dependence on any earlier events. Essentially there are two mysteries at hand here. One involves Owen Archer, a Welshman in Wales, in the town of St. David’s, where a stonemason has been murdered for no obvious reason. The other involves Archer’s wife, Lucie, who lives in York, where her aunt’s home has been attacked by outlaws and the steward seriously injured. Lucie consigns help at the recommendation of a good friend, who turns out to be quite the opposite.
These two separate plots are made and delve deeper and deeper into mystery and intrigue, while the danger simply increases. There is also a great cause brought to bare here, involving Owain Lawgoch, a Welshman who has every intention of reclaiming his beloved country from King James of Britain. Archer is given an ultimatum: join Lawgoch or go back to his wife; the answer comes as no surprise, while the imposing possibility of war is dropped like last week’s news. Perhaps this matter will be picked up again in the next book, though I’m not sure I want to spend $24 to find out.
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Originally published on September 16th, 2002.
Originally published in the Long Beach Union.