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Sorrow Without End: a Medieval Mystery (Medieval Mysteries (Poisoned Pen Paperback)) Paperback – June 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Medieval Mysteries (Poisoned Pen Paperback)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1st Edition Pbk Thus edition (June 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590583329
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590583326
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,353,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Terror grips a remote North Sea priory in Royal's superior medieval thriller, her third to feature Eleanor, prioress of Tyndal (after 2004's Tyrant of the Mind). In 1271, tough-minded Ralf the Crowner, who's trying to bring a brutal serial killer to justice, prevails upon Eleanor to allow the mangled corpse of a lowly foot soldier to be laid in the chapel during his investigation. The "rule of Eve" prevails in Tyndal, where pious Eleanor resists the demands of rival monks who complicate Ralf's work with their own competing agendas for the priory's future. Eleanor faces further challenges when a knight is slain and an infirmarian (or hospital) nun is beaten and raped before the altar. Suspense builds amid a vivid backdrop of lepers wearing "clappers," a madman who chatters warnings, venal relic sellers and the shadowy "man from Acre," haunted by guilt for his wife's death at the hands of a sadistic crusader. Eleanor's steadfast faith in a merciful God must contend with the vicious nature of man in a compelling resolution.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Royal continues her excellent medieval mystery series with another haunting whodunit set in the Tyndale Priory situated on the windswept East Anglican Coast. This time around, after Ralf the Crowner discovers the corpse of a murdered soldier in the woods, he brings the mutilated body back to the priory to undertake a thorough investigation. Puzzled by the strange inscription carved into the dagger used as the murder weapon, he consults with Prioress Eleanor, Brother Andrew, and Brother Thomas. Although it appears the victim was a Crusader, no motive can be found for the vicious crime. When a knight is slain and a young nun brutally attacked, it becomes clear that the priory is harboring a lunatic. As Ralf and Eleanor work tirelessly to expose the murderer, the priory and its adjacent infirmary are beset by a series of internal squabbles and political power struggles. Tautly woven, this introspective period piece oozes with suspense and intrigue. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

A native of Washington State, Priscilla Royal grew up in New Westminster, BC. She graduated with a BA in world literature from San Francisco State University. In 2000, she retired from the federal civil service and now writes medieval mysteries full time. Medieval literature and history have fascinated her for almost half a century, and she delights in finding details that aren't usually mentioned in most fiction. As one example, her main characters belong to the very real Order of Fontevraud, a double house of monks and nuns, run by a woman in an era when conventional wisdom said that women were weak, illogical and should never rule men. The characters remain true to their time but exhibit universal characteristics. Although a fan of theater, modern mysteries, and fiction of lesser violence, she was inspired to write about medieval crime and punishment by the works of both Ellis Peters and Sharon Kay Penman. Visit her website at www.priscillaroyal.com and her blog postings on The Lady Killers blog (www.theladykillers.typepad.com).

Customer Reviews

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Prince Edward is in the Mideast determined to wrest Jerusalem out of the Saracen's hands; many wounded soldiers, in body and soul, are returning home and countless of them stop at Tyndal Priory where they hope to get rid of their afflictions in the hospital run by the monks and the nuns. One the road to Tyndal Priory, a man returning home kills a foot soldier in a very gruesome manner.

Ralf the crowner (a man who hunts down criminals) brings the corpse to Tyndal Priory to have the nuns look at the body for clues. Brother Thomas, who has just returned to the priory, examines the body and thinks is his former jailer; he faints. When he comes to, he refuses to tell Ralf why he fainted. He is imprisoned in a cell until he is willing to tell Ralf the truth but the prioress Eleanor believe the real killer is hiding out among the patients. When a second murder occurs, a thorough investigation is undertaken.

Fans of Sharon King Penman will want to read SORROW WITHOUT END a medieval mystery that captures the flow of the Middle Ages. The mystery is well constructed and thought provoking as readers learn about life inside the priory and the battle fatigue syndrome afflicting the soldiers who made it home. There are many suspects but nobody seems to have a motive for the killings. This book is made even more interesting then most medieval tales because it shows that the nuns and monks have human emotions that they are forbidden by their vows to act on.

Harriet Klausner
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale on May 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the third book in the series that features Prioress Eleanor at the Tyndal Priory. The author continues to add more flesh to the bones of her characters, so to speak and the tension between Eleanor and Brother Thomas continues. A tension that is exacerbated by the Eleanor's tender feeling for Thomas.

One could I suppose draw parallels between the two leading characters of Priscilla Royal's books and those of Abbess Helewise and Sir Josse d'Aquin in the Alys Clare medieval mysteries or even with Sister Fidelma and Brother Eadulf in Peter Tremayne's Irish medieval mysteries. All of these characters are portrayed as real, honest to goodness human beings who have their frailties, i.e. sinful thoughts and sinful deeds and are far removed from the whiter than white, celibate characters that many of the clergy are portrayed as in books by other author's.

The story revolves around the discovery of the corpse of a brutally murdered soldier near Tyndale Priory. There is a dagger in the man's chest and the knife is covered in strange designs and the body is wrapped in the cloak of a crusader. Crowner Ralf decides to take the body to the priory, but he may yet live to regret this decision. It is not long before Brother Thomas becomes a suspect in the murder and Ralf's loyalties begin to tear him apart. Who does he side with, his brother the sheriff, or loyalty to an old friend . . .
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Computercop on November 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read quite a bit of the Historical Mysteries and this one fits into my one of my favorite series. I have read the previous two books by Royal and enjoyed them. I am a little put out with this one as it seems more like a romance/mystery. The prioress has the hots for one of the priests. This may be the line Royal is taking and if it gets deeper I may have to rethink her books. I love medieval mysteries and I hope this series will remain on my list.
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By gghost on May 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. I feel like I have been transported back to the 11th century. Keep on writing this series. I have enjoyed it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I do enjoy her history put in a novel of the Medieval times and her comment after. Great way to get history!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall this is a very readable historic mystery collection. I would only ask, where dose this author want to go with the underlying tensions in this series? When you read a series of novels, you tolerate the 2-3 page intro piece that introduces the ongoing "issues" in a series. But with this series the "issues" are more central and it just isn't clear where this is going? Otherwise, a great story, strong characters, everything else you'd like to see in this kind of novel.
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By bookjunkie on December 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm hooked on the author and the subject matter and the time period having been associated with the catholic church in my "ancient days" as a nun and a friar. The time period suits me and I love a good mystery.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I always learn something new when I read in this series. They are all well researched. Sometimes a bit hard to follow because editing can be a problem on story consistency, but all in all this is a good series to invest in. I would strongly suggest reading the books in order to get the full impact of the characters.
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