THE APOTHECARY ROSE (BOOK ONE)"Suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is an absolute delight from start to finish..." — Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series
In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer.
Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton’s apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.
Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.
THE LADY CHAPEL (BOOK TWO)“A lovingly detailed background informs and animates the plot at every point.” —KIRKUS
Perfect for fans of both Ellis Peters and CJ Sansom, THE LADY CHAPEL is a vivid and immersive portrait of court intrigue and a testament to the power of the medieval guilds.
Summer in the year of our Lord 1365. On the night after the Corpus Christi procession, a man is brutally murdered on the steps of York Minster. The next morning his severed hand is found in a room at the York Tavern—a room hastily vacated by a fellow guild member who had quarreled with the victim.
Archbishop Thoresby calls on Owen Archer to investigate. As Owen tracks the fleeing merchant, he uncovers a conspiracy involving a powerful company of traders, but his only witness is a young boy who has gone into hiding, and his only suspect is a mysterious cloaked woman. When Owen discovers a link between the traders and a powerful coterie in the royal court, he brings his apothecary wife Lucie into the race to find the boy before he is silenced forever by the murderers.
THE NUN'S TALE (BOOK THREE)“[An] engrossing tale…imbued with the flavor of English medieval life, Robb’s story melds true events with fiction to create a gripping historical mystery.”—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Based on an enigmatic entry in the records of Clementhorpe Nunnery, this authentic, gripping mystery conjures a 14th century ripe with forbidden passions and political intrigue.
When young nun Joanna Calverley dies of a fever in the town of Beverley in the summer of 1365 she is buried quickly for fear of the plague. But a year later, Archbishop Thoresby learns of a woman who has arrived in York claiming to be the resurrected nun, talking of relic-trading and miracles. And death seems to ride in her wake.
The archbishop sends Owen Archer to retrace the woman’s journey, an investigation that leads him across the north from Leeds to Beverley to Scarborough. Along the way he encounters Geoffrey Chaucer, a spy for the king of England, who believes there is a connection between the nun’s troubles, renegade mercenaries, and the powerful Percy family. Back in York, however, Owen’s wife Lucie, pregnant with their first child, has won the confidence of the mysterious nun and realizes that there are secrets hidden in the woman’s seemingly mad ramblings...
THE KING'S BISHOP (BOOK FOUR)“Robb continues to adeptly blend politics with period detail and three-dimensioned characterizations in the Owen Archer tales.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
From the marshy Thames to the misty Yorkshire moors, murder stalks Welsh soldier-sleuth Owen Archer and one of his oldest friends.
On a snowy morning in 1367, Sir William of Wyndesore’s page is found in the icy moat of Windsor Castle, and some whisper that the murderer was Ned Townley—a former comrade-in-arms of Owen Archer. Burdened with a reputation as a notoriously jealous lover, Ned cannot hope to clear his name; even Mary, his ladylove, is unsure of the truth. Hoping to put Ned out of harm’s way while solving the murder, Owen places his friend in charge of a mission to Rievaulx Abbey at the edge of the moors. But when the travelers receive news of Mary’s drowning, Ned vanishes into the wild.
Riding out in search of his old friend, Owen does not know whether he will be Ned’s savior or executioner. With his one good eye, Owen sees more than most, but now he must find a way to penetrate the curtains of power that surround the Church and England’s royal court and discover the truth of Ned’s innocence or guilt...
THE RIDDLE OF ST. LEONARD'S (BOOK FIVE)“Gripping and believable…you can almost smell the streets of 14th-century York as you delve deeper into an engrossing plot.” —PRIMA
In the year of our Lord 1369 the much-loved Queen Philippa lies dying in Windsor Castle, the harvest has failed, and the pestilence has returned. In York, the atmosphere of fear and superstition is heightened by a series of thefts and violent deaths at St. Leonard’s Hospital and rumors that these crimes are connected to the hospital’s dwindling funds. The Master of St. Leonard’s, Sir Richard Ravenser, hurries north from the queen’s deathbed to summon Owen Archer, soldier-spy, to investigate the scandal before it ruins him.
While Owen’s wife Lucie faces the plague-panicked townsfolk at the apothecary, Owen encounters a seemingly random series of clues: a riddle posed by one of the victims at the hospital, a lay sister with a scandalous past, the kidnapping of a child from the hospital orphanage, and a case of arson. The answer to the riddle of St. Leonard’s lies in the past, and as Owen’s family is caught up in the sweep of the pestilence, he must abandon them to race across the countryside to save the next victim.
A GIFT OF SANCTUARY (BOOK SIX)“Robb deftly interweaves a complex story of love, passion and murder into the troubled and tangled fabric of Welsh history, fashioning a rich and satisfying novel.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Under the pretense of escorting his father-in-law and the archbishop’s secretary on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of St. David’s in Wales, Owen Archer and Geoffrey Chaucer are carrying out a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. England and France are at war, and the southern coast of Wales is vulnerable to invasion—Owen and Geoffrey are to recruit archers for the duke’s army and inspect his Welsh fortifications on the coast, while quietly investigating whether the duke’s steward at Cydweli Castle is involved in a French plot to incite rebellion in Wales.
But trouble precedes them in the cathedral city of St. David’s. On Whitesands Beach beyond the city a young man is beaten and left for dead, then spirited away by a Welsh bard. Shortly afterward a corpse clothed in the livery of the Duke of Lancaster is left at the city gate, his shoes filled with white sand. And at Cydweli Castle a chain of events begun by the theft of money from the castle’s exchequer ends in a violent death and the disappearance of the steward’s beautiful young wife. Owen and Geoffrey begin to see connections linking the troubles in city and castle, and see they must unravel the complex story of betrayed love and political ambition to prevent more deaths.
But in the course of his investigations in the land of his birth, Owen is haunted by doubts about his own loyalties...
A SPY FOR THE REDEEMER (BOOK SEVEN)“Fascinating…crisp, evocative writing…. The tapestry here is rich and varied.”—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER
Late spring in the year of our Lord 1370, and Owen Archer is anxious to leave Wales for home. His mission for the Duke of Lancaster complete, he attempts to arrange safe passage on a ship sailing for England, but the hanging of a stonemason interrupts his plans. On the surface it appears the young man was driven to suicide by a broken heart, but to Owen the signs all point to murder. As his investigation stretches on, however, Owen finds himself drawn into the influence of the leader of a Welsh rebellion whose manifesto speaks to his heart, and a choice is offered to him: join or die.
At home in York, Owen’s wife Lucie is troubled by rumors that her husband’s long absence is permanent, as well as threats by a customer who claims she was poisoned by a physic from the Wilton apothecary. Meanwhile, Lucie is tempted by the attentions of a friend’s steward, even as she uncovers a shattering betrayal in her own household.
THE GUILT OF INNOCENTS (BOOK NINE)“It’s…the Machiavellian intrigue that makes this such an enjoyable read. When the iron curtain came down people said the spy-thriller genre was dead. They were wrong. This is as full of intrigue as a Deighton or a Le Carré.” —THE GUARDIAN
Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archer’s adopted son Jasper. But what began as a confrontation to return a boy’s stolen scrip becomes a murder investigation as the rescuers find the pilot dying of wounds inflicted before his plunge into the river. When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. His lost scrip seems to hold the key to the double tragedy, but his disappearance leaves troubling questions: did he flee in fear? Or was he abducted?
On the cusp of this new mystery, Owen accepts Jasper’s offer to accompany him to the boy’s home in the countryside, where they learn that a valuable cross has gone missing. A devastating fire and another drowning force Owen to make impossible choices, endangering not only himself, but the two innocents he fights to protect. The bond between fathers and sons proves strong, even between those not linked by blood.
A VIGIL OF SPIES (BOOK TEN)“As always, Candace Robb writes a powerful story intertwined with genuine characters of the day.” —HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW
Archbishop Thoresby of York, the second most powerful cleric in England, lies dying in his bed. The end of his life is seen by the great families of the North as a chance to promote one of their own as his successor, and Thoresby himself announces he will leave the matter to the dean and chapter of York. On the eve of this decision, the dying archbishop agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, wife of the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England, and Thoresby’s captain of the guard, Owen Archer, has no doubt that trouble will follow.
As soon as the company rides into the palace yard he is proved right: they arrive burdened with the body of one of their party, and Owen finds evidence that the man’s death was no accident. Within days of this discover, a messenger carrying an urgent message for the Archbishop is found hanging in the woods. With guards surrounding the property, it is clear that the murderer walks among the palace guests. The powerful Percy and Neville families are well represented in the entourage, including a woman who remembers an afternoon tryst with Owen as much, much more. Even the princess’ son is suspect. As Owen races to unmask the guilty and rid the palace of the royal party, his final wish for his lord is that he might die in peace.
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Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.
Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat, ecampion.wordpress.com.
BOOK BLAST SCHEDULEMonday, August 17
The Reading Queen
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What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 19
The Lit Bitch
The Never-Ending Book
Thursday, August 20
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Boom Baby Reviews
Buried Under Books
Saturday, August 22
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Svetlana's Reads and Views
Monday, August 24
A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, August 25
Wednesday, August 26
A Book Geek
Thursday, August 27
A Chick Who Reads
Friday, August 28
A Fold in the Spine
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