Wolves of Savernake

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9780449223109: Wolves of Savernake

In 1086 England's mighty king, William the Conqueror; sends out surveyors and census takers to record the resources of his land and its people. Some welcome these inquisitive royal agents and their "day of judgment." Others hate them. But wherever the king's men go they bring excitement, and sometimes murder....

In ancient Bedwyn town, the kings Domesday researchers are suddenly faced with the violent death of the very man whose claims have drawn them there -- a wealthy miller, savaged by a wolf in Savernake Forest.

Now two clever king's men, soldier Ralph Delchard and lawyer Gervase Bret, must investigate not only questionable land claims but the miller's death as well. Have well-fed monks of Bedwyn Abbey somehow contrived the man's demise? Has his soft-eyed wife betrayed him? Is the dreaded Savernake wolf the familiar of the town witch, or is it the hound of heaven? No one knows except a dead man ....

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From the Back Cover:

"A story that invites comparison to the crystalline novels of Ellis Peters."

-- Kirkus Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews:

The author moves from his customary Elizabethan Age theater world (The Mad Courtesan, etc.) to 1086 and the village of Bedwyn, dominated by its Abbey, its Royal Mint, and the Savernake Forest surrounding it. King William has sent emissaries Ralph Delchard, an ex-soldier, and young lawyer Gervase Bret to investigate land claims of local mill-owner Aldric Longdon against the Abbey. They arrive in time to share the horror of the villagers at the brutal death of Longdon, apparently savaged by a wolf in the forest depths. The hearings on his claim drone forward anyway, complicated by the disappearance of his charter to the land in question; the death of a second victim, killed as Longdon was; the near lynching of Emma, the Witch of Crofton; a flow of counterfeit coins; and the intricacies of Abbey life and politics. The killer, eventually unmasked by this Norman-era Batman and Robin, provides an unconvincing surprise in a story that invites comparison to the crystalline novels of Ellis Peters, and to the author's own previous work. By either standard, though, this is overburdened with historical detail, a surfeit of subplots, and too many uninspired characters. Marston fans may hope for his early return to that other world he so brilliantly re-created. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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