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The Bookseller's Tale (Oxford Medieval Mysteries) (Volume 1) Paperback – June 18, 2016
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About the Author
Ann Swinfen is the author of the highly acclaimed series, The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez. Set in the late sixteenth century, it features a young Marrano physician recruited as a code-breaker and spy in Walsingham’s secret service. In order, the books are: The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez, The Enterprise of England, The Portuguese Affair, Bartholomew Fair, Suffer the Little Children, Voyage to Muscovy and The Play’s the Thing. Her Fenland Series takes place in East Anglia during the seventeenth century. In the first book, Flood, both men and women fight desperately to save their land from greedy and unscrupulous speculators. The second, Betrayal, continues the story of the dangerous search for legal redress and security for the embattled villagers, at a time when few could be trusted. Her latest series, Oxford Medieval Mysteries, is set in the fourteenth century and features bookseller Nicholas Elyot, a young widower with two small children, and his university friend Jordain Brinkylsworth, who are faced with crime in the troubled world following the Black Death. The first book in the series is The Bookseller’s Tale. She has also written two standalone novels. The Testament of Mariam, set in the first century, recounts, from an unusual perspective, one of the most famous and yet ambiguous stories in human history, while exploring life under a foreign occupying force, in lands still torn by conflict to this day. This Rough Ocean is based on the real-life experiences of the Swinfen family during the 1640s, at the time of the English Civil War, when John Swynfen was imprisoned for opposing the killing of the king, and his wife Anne had to fight for the survival of her children and dependents. She now lives on the northeast coast of Scotland, with her husband, formerly vice-principal of the University of Dundee, and a rescue cat called Maxi. www.annswinfen.com
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Top customer reviews
Taking my usual taste into consideration ought to be sufficient for many other historical fiction/mystery aficionados, so I will not go into the details of this book; suffice it to say, I agree with what another reviewer said: This book is a *gift*. I could not have been more raptly absorbed by any other historical fiction book I've read to date. I devoured this one in less than two days (no mean feat... I have seven children), then promptly downloaded the second book in this series, and finished it in a day. I was disappointed to the point of frustrated depression that there is not yet a third book available! (But slightly mollified to read at Ann Swinfen's website that book 3 will hopefully debut in March... I've waited longer for less worthy successive texts.). I cannot recommend this jewel enough. It's one that I intend to purchase the paperback copy of, to add to my hand-picked legion of Most Worthy books on my largest bookcase. If you're wavering, don't; I promise you will be drawn in and fall in love before the end of the first chapter.
I'll give this author another chance--will read her next novel set in the same place and time with some of the same characters--in the hope that she actually can write a compelling and suspenseful mystery... But only one more chance!
For anyone fascinated by the history of bookmaking and in love with illuminated manuscripts, this is a fabulous read. On one hand an intriguing mystery of the 'cosy' ilk; on the other a fascinating peek into the work of medieval bookmaking.
A wonderful historical mystery. I'll be definitely read the rest in the series