For the twentieth anniversary of the Matthew Bartholomew series, Sphere is delighted to reissue the first three books with beautiful new series-style covers.
In 1350, the people of Cambridge are struggling to overcome the effects of the Black Death - and with a high mortality rate among priests and monks, the townsfolk are vulnerable to sinister cults that have sprung up.
At Michaelhouse, Matthew Bartholomew is training new physicians when the body of a friar is found in the massive chest that the University uses to store precious documents. While investigating, Bartholomew stumbles across a derelict church being used as a meeting place for the mysterious sect he believes is at the heart of a web of blackmail and deceit - with intention to overthrow the established religion.
In mid-14th century Cambridge, still reeling in the aftermath of the Black Death, an uneasy town-gown relationship deteriorates with the murders of three prostitutes and armed attacks on merchants. But it is the mysterious death of a Dominican friar in the tower of St. Mary's Church, killed while rifling the Cambridge University chest, iron-bound repository of University secrets and valuables, that pulls physician Matthew Bartholomew and Benedictine Brother Michael unwillingly into the fray. Ordered to solve the mystery by Chancellor Richard de Wetherset, Bartholomew discovers a poisoned blade in the chest's lock. Then Frances de Belem, to whom Bartholomew had nearly been betrothed as a child and who was now a shamefully pregnant longtime widow, is murdered in the same manner as the prostitutes. Rumors of witchcraft and covens meeting in the churches closed by the ravages of the plague combine with charges of corruption on the part of the unpopular sheriff to further complicate the issues. Throughout, Bartholomew attempts to teach the medicine he learned from an Arab physician in Paris to students who consider his notions heretical. The pseudonymous Gregory produces a lively and intelligent tale set vividly in turbulent medieval England.