Friday, August 17, 2007

A Play of Lords - Margaret Frazer

A Play of Lords
Margaret Frazer
Berkley Prime Crime


In 1435, Joliffe and the traveling company of players arrive in London. King Henry VI’s advisor is dead, and many people, noblemen and clergy alike, are vying to step into the influential role. At the behest of Bishop Beaufort, the company will entertain the royals; while Joliffe keeps his eyes and ears open for developments. Joliffe is to report back anything he finds. It’s not often that a traveling player is drafted as a spy, but stranger things have happened in his life.

Soon enough, the deadly importance of this assignment becomes clear, as individuals close to the situation begin to die. To be sure, life in uncertain in these times, but these deaths cannot be written off to mere coincidence. And as the violence continues, the company begins to fear that someone in power may think they know too much to be allowed to live.

This is the fourth installment in this series, following A PLAY OF KNAVES, and the regular players have gained a good deal of depth. The players are ideally situated to gather information, but are also in a good deal of danger doing so. The real draw of this series for me is the amazing wealth of historical detail. While the mystery is compelling, and rooted in a fascinating historical period, it’s the details of everyday life that make the story and characters leap off the page. The author is quite obviously a scholar, and can clearly evoke the conditions, the social structure, and the politics of the time. This series will appeal to readers who enjoy historical mystery and historical fiction.

Rating: 8 ½
August 2007
ISBN# 0-425-21668-2 (paperback)


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