Who would dare kill one of the king’s foresters? Coroner Sir John investigates in this characterful instalment in the Crowner John medieval mystery series, set in twelfth-century England.
Devon, 1195. A tall, brown mare gallops into the sleepy village of Sigford, its rider dragged by the stirrup, the broken shaft of an arrow protruding from his back. The embroidered badge on the dead man’s tunic identifies him as a senior officer of the Royal Forest – a team of men tasked with upholding the harsh laws that prevent everyone but the king from hunting in England’s forests. The punishment for killing a deer on the king’s land is mutilation . . . or death.
With plenty of money still in the victim’s purse, it’s clear that robbery isn’t the motive. But what is? When a second forest officer is violently attacked, county coroner Sir John de Wolfe begins to uncover evidence of a sinister conspiracy. And to his deep suspicion, his unscrupulous brother-in-law, the sheriff Sir Richard de Revelle, seems to be taking an unusual interest in the case . . .