The Lions of the North: A Novel (Domesday Books/Edward Marston, Vol 4)

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9780312146719: The Lions of the North: A Novel (Domesday Books/Edward Marston, Vol 4)
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William the Conqueror sends Gervase Bret and Ralph Delchard into the lands of Yorkshire to investigate a rogue named Olaf Evil Child, but on the way, they hear rumors of two lions owned by a rich merchant that have been killing people.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Fourth in the author's Domesday series set in an 11th-century England ruled by William the Conqueror. Once again, ex-soldier Ralph Delchard is on a mission for the King (The Dragons of Archenfield, 1995, etc.), this time heading a group delegated to settle land disputes in Yorkshire, in the wake of the devastating Norman victory there. Ralph rides from Winchester, his mistress Golde beside him, with his fellow commissioners--gentle lawyer Gervase Bret, wise Canon Hubert, wimpy scribe Brother Simon, and Tanchelm of Ghent, a special emissary from the King, along with the armed soldiers needed to keep them safe on the dangerous journey to York--a precaution that fails to prevent the theft of five horses and supplies at an overnight stop--surely the work of outlaw Olaf Evil Child. The party's destination in York is the castle of rich, gregarious Aubrey Maminot, Ralph's old friend, who wines and dines his guest lavishly as the commissioners begin their hearings. The castle is guarded, in addition to its soldiers, by a pair of ferocious lions in the care of Ludovico that, shortly before Ralph's arrival, had torn to shreds a young, unidentified intruder. The cases brought before the commission are beginning to reveal a pattern of villainy, but not until Tanchelm is mysteriously killed while alone in a meeting room does Ralph begin to question the security arrangements at the castle--finding his answers about them in a fight to the death. The best by far of this series: abrim with energy, heroism, tenderness, chicanery, and suspense while crisply evoking a vivid picture of the era. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Booklist:

Commissioned by William the Conqueror to conduct an extensive survey of his recently acquired kingdom, soldier Ralph Delchard and lawyer Gervase Bret travel to York to settle a series of tangled property disputes. Intrigued by a comely young maiden's claim that her family's estate was illegally annexed by a devious overlord, Ralph and Gervase attempt to gather evidence to support her petition. When one man is fatally mauled by a pair of vicious trained lions and another is strangled, they link the assassinations to the land seizure, endangering their own lives in the process. As Ralph and Gervase prepare to unravel an entangled web of deceit, murder, and treason, they are betrayed by a friend and set upon by the notorious lions of York. Another intriguing and exuberant installment in the Domesday Books series. Margaret Flanagan

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