The Dragons of Archenfield (Domesday, Bk 3)

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9780449225455: The Dragons of Archenfield (Domesday, Bk 3)

DOMESDAY IS COMING
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. . . .
Calamity smolders on the Welsh-English frontier, where three powerful men squabble over the same rich tract of land. When King William's clever agents *soldier Ralph Delchard and lawyer Gervase Bret *arrive to settle the dispute, one of the claimants has been brutally burned alive, and the king's men are saddled with a formidable murder investigation. Before the frightful truth shines clear, everyone will be scorched by the flames of violence. . . .
"Marston is a marvel at re-creating the atmosphere of the times while constructing a fascinating murder case."

  *Anniston Star
"[An] outstanding medieval mystery brimming with intrigue, suspense, and authentic historical detail."

  *Booklist

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From Publishers Weekly:

This third volume of the Domesday Books (after The Ravens of Blackwater) starts off, literally, like a house afire but peters out into standard costume drama, including the rescue from a castle of a kidnapped princess. The year is 1086, two decades after the Norman conquest, and the setting is the former Welsh stronghold of Archenfield on the quiescent English border. The house fire traps and burns alive Warnod, a Saxon thane scheduled to testify before commissioners of the Domesday Book, a general survey of the country's wealth. On the ground outside Warnod's house, a red dragon, symbol of Wales, is drawn. Which of two Marcher lords, bitter rivals, is bent on creating trouble and why? Soldier Ralph Delchard and lawyer Gervase Bret, Domesday commissioners, aided by the obstreperous, chauvinistic Welsh priest, Archdeacon Idwal, get to the bottom of the mystery but only after two bloody skirmishes. Although Marston clearly sketches his historical setting and the fights for the spoils of war and conquest, a slow pace and some flat prose bog this entry down.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

King's soldier Ralph Delchard and royal lawyer Gervase Bret settle another land dispute and solve another case of murder in the third installment of Marston's entertaining series, Domesday Books. Commissioned by William the Conqueror to conduct a comprehensive survey of his recently acquired kingdom, Ralph and Gervase travel to the Welsh border intending to investigate three different claims to the same piece of choice property. When one of the claimants is burned to death in his own home and an innocent young woman is kidnapped, tensions erupt between the Norman, Saxon, and Welsh populations of Archenfield. In order to avert a lengthy and costly bloodbath, Ralph and Gervase piece together the perplexing puzzle by uncovering a motive and exposing the identity of the true culprit. Another outstanding medieval mystery brimming with intrigue, suspense, and authentic historical detail. Margaret Flanagan

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Marston, Edward
Published by Fawcett (1996)
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