Set in lavishly described medieval England and France, The Canterbury Papers is an enthralling and suspenseful debut novel combining dark family secrets, duplicity, and a missing heir to the throne.
The wily Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of France and then of England, sends her former ward, Alaïs, the sister of the king of France, to retrieve a cache of letters hidden in Canterbury Cathedral. Letters that, in the wrong hands, could bring down the English king. In return, Eleanor promises to reveal a long-held and dangerous secret involving Alaïs -- a bargain the French princess is powerless to resist.
Within the fortnight the letters would be delivered to Fontrevault Abbey. Then Eleanor would be happy, and I would finally get the information she had promised.
So engaged was I in the arduous task of rising that I failed to hear the slight sound behind me that would have signaled my fate. Instead I was taken completely by surprise. The only thing I felt was a strong hand around my neck, another around my waist, and -- before I could cry out -- I smelled the thick, sweet scent of a mandrake-soaked cloth. Unforgiving hands clapped it against my face, and all went dark.
Before Alaïs can complete her mission, she is abducted, an event that sets in motion a dangerous plot. It will require all of Alaïs's considerable strengths, along with help from the very intriguing leader of the Knights Templar, to unravel dark secrets, unmask evil villains, and escape with her life.
A vividly rendered, spine-tingling historical novel filled with intrigue and peopled with compelling legendary figures, The Canterbury Papers is an extraordinary tale from a brilliant new writer.
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Judith Koll Healey is currently the president of a national firm that works with families in their philanthropic efforts. She is a published poet and short-fiction writer and has lectured internationally on the topic of art and the unconscious. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is her first novel.
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Book Description William Morrow, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060525355
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