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The Wandering Arm (Catherine Levendeur) Hardcover – October, 1995


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Product Details

  • Series: Catherine Levendeur
  • Hardcover: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Forge; 1st edition (October 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312858299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312858292
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 12th-century France, religion suffuses society. Relics, attributed with great power, are (almost) universally venerated and trade in religious objects is a lucrative, often dangerous business. After losing their first child at birth, ex-novice Catherine Le Vendeur and her English husband, Edgar, last encountered in The Devil's Door, are drawn into this perilous world when Edgar agrees to pose as a masterless craftsman and infiltrate the group suspected of refashioning stolen religious goods. Also at stake is the future of Catherine's relatives, Jews living near the Abbey of St. Denis on sufferance of King Louis VII. Natan ben Judah, whose unsavory reputation may endanger his people, has been murdered; and the relic of the arm of Saint Aldhelm of England, which figures in the dynastic struggles between England's King Stephen and his cousin Matilda, widow of the Holy Roman Emperor, has disappeared. Newman displays a sure hand with the period and her affecting cast in this deftly crafted tale.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Newman (The Devil's Door, Forge, 1994) offers lively and credible historical fiction as she depicts 12th-century Paris and environs. She centers her tale around 19-year-old Catherine Le Vendeur, a Christian of Jewish blood, and her Saxon husband, Edgar. Edgar, posing as an out-of-luck metalworker, and Catherine, portraying his wife, attempt to discover who has been stealing English church objects, melting them down, and reworking them?a practice blamed in part on a murdered Jew. Intriguing plot, realistic depictions of contemporary culture, and a spunky young heroine. Highly recommended.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author



Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master's degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her education to write novels set in the Middle Ages, including three Arthurian fantasies and ten mysteries set in twelfth-century France, featuring Catherine LeVendeur a one-time student of Heloise at the Paraclete, her husband, Edgar, an Anglo-Scot and Solomon, a Jewish merchant of Paris. The books focus on the life of the bourgeoisie and minor nobility and also the uneasy relations between Christians and Jews at that time. They also incorporate events of the twelfth-century such as the Second Crusade and the rise of the Cathars.

For these books, Newman has done research at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris where she is a Grand Lecteur, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique France Méridionale et Espagne at the University of Toulouse and the Institute for Jewish History at the University of Trier, as well as many departmental archives.

The Catherine Levendeur mysteries have been nominated for many awards. Sharan won the Macavity Award for best first mystery for "Death Comes As Epiphany" and the Herodotus Award for best historical mystery of 1998 for Cursed in the Blood. The most recent book in the series The Witch in the Well won the Bruce Alexander award for best Historical mystery of 2004.

Just for a change, she set her most recent mystery, The Shanghai Tunnel (Forge 2008) in Portland. Oregon in 1868.

Newman has written a non-fiction book, The Real History Behind the Da Vinci Code, Berkley 2005. It is in encyclopedia format and gives information on various topics mentioned in Dan Brown's novel and has been translated worldwide. For this she appeared on radio and television programs internationally. She has also appeared on several documentaries about the book. Following on that she wrote the Real History Behind the Templars published by Berkley in September of 2007. It was while doing the research for this book that she noticed how important Queen Melisende was to the Kingdome of Jerusalem and how little had been written about her. She is currently working on a biography of Melisende, the first native-born queen and first female ruler of Crusader Jerusalem. This will be published in early 2014.

Her most recent non-fiction is The Real History of the End of the World, Berkley, 2010. She has kept abreast of the latest threats to our continued existence on her blog, Apocalypses and Other Thoughts, which can be reached through her website.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Edward Alexander Gerster VINE VOICE on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is possibly the best of the first four books written by Sharan Newman in her Catherine LeVendeur Mysteries. It is a complex tale of murder and deceit in the realm of Paris in the 12th century, and reflects upon a true problem of the time--stolen reliquaries. If you have read and enjoyed Sheri Holman's "A Stolen Tongue" or Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose," you may find yourself finishing this tale in one sitting. It a quick but fascinating read, highly entertaining, and showing the author's ever increasing level of mastery of the genre. Highly Recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on November 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Sharan Newman writes a very good medieval mystery. She does her homework on the historical facts for the time that she writes in (12th century France), and the authenticity of these facts, combined with her compelling character development make for a "page-turner" of a read. Catherine and her Edgar are the liveliest set of sleuths out their in the historical genre. In this outing Catherine's father have asked Edgar and Catherine to find a religious relic that has been stolen from Edgar's home country of England. Those following the relic's progress think it has made its way into France. Not only do we get to follow our protaganists in their search, but we get a clear picture of what relations were like between the Christians and the Jews in Paris in the 12 century. Ms. Newman's plotting is as good as her characterization, and this is a very enjoyable medieval.
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By Waynek on June 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another great book from Ms. Newman. I have learned a lot about life in the Middle Ages from her books. She inserts small insignificant details in that you would never find in other books about the period.
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