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by Sharon Kay Penman

Category: Fiction / Historical
245 pages; ISBN: 0-345-44144-3

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Jeannine Van Eperen


Cruel as the Grave
Sharon Kay Penman
ISBN: 0-345-44144-3
245 pages

Justin de Quincy is the queen’s man. The dowager queen being Eleanor of Aquitaine. He is also the bastard of the Bishop of Chester. Justin was asked by a friend to look into the murder of a young Welch girl, Melangell The friend’s nephews are considered suspects in the murder. Giving his word with some reluctance, Justin sets out to find the murderous culprit, but he is certain that the results will not be to his friend’s liking. While scurrying about looking into the mystery of the young woman’s death, he also must carry out the queen’s orders. The queen is having trouble keeping wily Lord John in line. He wants to usurp his brother’s kingdom while Richard is a prisoner in Austria. Eleanor must find a way to ransom her son, the king, yet not incur the wrath of her youngest son, John. Justin helps her bring the wayward John back in the fold, at least for the time being, while seeking out to solve the death of Melangell.

This is the second book in a series featuring the exploits of young Justin de Quincy. If you are used to reading her lengthy works such as “Here be Shadows” and “The Sunne in Splendor” you will find the books different, though the research and Penman’s skill as a writer will keep you one of her admirers. Ms. Penman weaves a good tale. CRUEL AS THE GRAVE does not have the depth of her earlier historicals, but it is a very good read. She knows her history and can tell a good yarn, much like the late Norah Lofts.




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