Land of Shadows

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Product Details
$18.99  $17.66
Poisoned Pen Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.6 inches | 0.5 pounds

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About the Author

Priscilla Royal grew up in British Columbia, earned a degree in world literature from San Francisco State University, and worked for the federal government in various positions. She is the author of the Medieval Mystery series featuring Eleanor, prioress of Tyndal, and she is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, California Writers Club, and Sisters in Crime.


The Medieval Mystery series is currently one of my favorite mystery series. The author manages to write with a consistency I find extremely appealing. There was one novel that fell well below my expectations but the overall quality of the books in this series is quite good. This latest addition to the series does not disappoint....Part of what I find so appealing about this series are the characters. The exclusion of Crowner Ralf from this novel was a tiny letdown. Prioress Eleanor continues to grow and it seems her feelings toward Brother Thomas have finally calmed to the point where they are no longer a distraction, not only to Eleanor but also the reader....With this novel, I felt the author did an excellent job capturing the attitude of the era towards the Jewish population in England....I look forward to the future adventures of Prioress Eleanor, Brother Thomas, and the community of Tyndale.


An interesting well written mystery set in England during the rule of Edward I. The murder mystery concerns the possibly suicide by hanging of a queen's lady in waiting. It is part of a series about Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas who solve murders. I have not read the earlier books and this did not hamper my reading of this book. In this book Eleanor is at court, along with her troubled brother Hugh, as her father is ill. Tied into the mystery are the trials and perscuitions of the money lending Jews under Edward I. I thought the background was very well done and I totally recommend this book.


Death lurks behind every door in medieval England. Prioress Eleanor, her sub-infirmarian, Anne, and her adviser, Brother Thomas, have rushed to Woodstock Manor, where Eleanor's father, Baron Adam of Wynethorpe, lies dying. Also present is the baron's son, Sir Hugh, a crusader who has never mentally recovered from the hell of the holy war, and Hugh's illegitimate son, Richard, who's afraid to tell his father that he wants to be a priest rather than a warrior. And the entourage of Queen Eleanor has been staying at Woodstock ever since she was obliged to stop there to give birth to a baby girl and rest until she can join her husband, King Edward I, who's off hunting. When Eleanor and Anne are asked to view the body of one of the queen's ladies found hanged, they determine that her death was murder. Eleanor and Thomas, who have solved many crimes (Satan's Lullaby, 2015, etc.), are compelled to investigate when young Richard confesses to the killing. The other likely suspects, whom Eleanor has befriended, are Chera, an elderly Jewish woman, and her two granddaughters, who have come to beg the queen to help them after Chera's physician son was accused of coin clipping and killed in a raid on the Oxford Jewish community. Now that all their possessions have been confiscated in the king's name, Chera wants to return to her relatives in France. Edward, fortified by other sources of money, has turned against the Jews his father invited to England as moneylenders. The dead woman whored for her husband, who sold the gifts given to her by infatuated young men, so there are plenty of other suspects. But the grieving prioress must struggle to clear Richard and Chera even as more people are murdered. Readers entranced by Royal's vivid historical descriptions will have an altogether easier time than Eleanor with its elementary mystery.

--Kirkus Reviews

Royal begins with the historical fact that in March 1279 Queen Eleanor of Castile stayed at Woodstock Manor in Oxfordshire to bear her thirteenth child, a girl, Mary. Surrounding that birth is a marvelous tale of intrigue, violence resulting from prejudice, and grace gained through caring. Also at the manor is Prioress Eleanor, attending her dying father, but her filial devotion is interrupted by the hanging of one of the queen's ladies in waiting. Prioress Eleanor's nephew, Richard Fitzhugh, is a suspect, and the victim's husband accuses a Jewish woman and her two granddaughters, who are at the manor seeking the queen's mercy, the woman's son [having been lynched and her home confiscated by agents of the king. Prioress Eleanor and a monk traveling with her, Brother Thomas, believe neither story and work to find the true killer, aided by Eleanor's brother, nursing battle scars from the Crusades, and the honest local sheriff. This twelfth in the series will appeal to fans of Ellis Peters and Peter Tremayne.


Royal's thoughtful 12th medieval mystery (after 2015's Satan's Lullaby) takes Prioress Eleanor and Sister Anne, a skilled "sub-infirmarian" who nurses the sick, from Tyndal Priory to Woodstock Manor, where the prioress's father, Baron Adam of Wynethorpe, has been struck by apoplexy during a royal visit. Another visitor to the dying baron is his son and heir, Sir Hugh. Accompanying Hugh is his bastard son, Richard. Meanwhile, Hawis, an attendant to the queen, is found hanged in her chambers at the manor. Since the queen is recovering from childbirth, Alan FitzRoald, the high sheriff of Berkshire, is keen to keep the news of Hawis's death from the monarch until she's stronger, and he asks Eleanor's help in ascertaining how the woman died. Anne's conclusion that Hawis wasn't a suicide leads to Richard's surprise confession to murder. Royal matches a clever story line with intelligent characterizations, while providing a disturbing look at anti-Semitism in 13th-century England.

--Publishers Weekly

An enjoyable medieval mystery set in the 13th century, at the time of Edward I and his Queen, Eleanor....This book was immersive, taking me back to the political machinations and cultural problems of the 13th century. At a time when injustice was everywhere, I enjoyed following the mystery and unraveling what had happened. A thoroughly enjoyable medieval whodunit, with a complex societal dynamic.