Sunday, July 27, 2008

REVIEW: The Queen's Man

Title: The Queen's Man
Author: Sharon Kay Penman
Protagonist: Justin de Quincy
Setting: Winchester and London, England, 1193
Series: #1
Rating: A

First Line: "Do you think the king is dead?"

Justin de Quincy didn't take well to the knowledge that he's the illegitimate, albeit well-educated, son of a bishop. Starting life anew, he's on the road one very snowy day and witnesses the murder of a goldsmith. As the goldsmith lay dying, he entrusts some very important letters to Justin for delivery to the queen. Justin delivers the letters to a very worried Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her son, King Richard the Lionheart, has been missing for two months, and her youngest son, John, is already plotting to take the throne. It is imperative for her to know the identity of the goldsmith's killer, and she charges Justin with the task. Eleanor is a shrewd judge of character, because Justin turns out to be the very person needed to solve the mystery.

Although all the villains of this piece are a tad cardboard, the "good guys" are all very well-drawn. Justin is a treat: young and naive, but with a ready wit and a true sense of honor and justice. The sense of place and time is excellent but never encumbers the story. Swords clang, snow flies, bodices are ripped, and all turns out well in the end. The Queen's Man was a delight to read, and I'll be looking for more books in this series.


  1. I read this one several years ago, as well as the next one in the series. I remember that I liked the first, but was lukewarm about the second, but I don't remember why. Maybe I'll pick them up again.

    Oh, and hello from a fellow LibraryThinger!

  2. I'd say that if you only felt lukewarm about the second one, life's too short to go back to a series in which you lost interest.

    Hello right back atcha, Cindy! Seems we have more in common than LT. I'm also a BYU grad and lived in Provo for three years.


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