Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Killing Season

A Killing Season
Priscilla Royal
Poisoned Pen Press
October 2011
ISBN: 978-1590589496
250 pages

“ To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die;…A time to kill, and a time to heal…”
Before leaving for the crusades, Baron Herbert had been blessed with five sons and a loving wife all comfortably abiding in his castle in England during this medieval time period.
When he returns, Baron Herbert is injured mentally, physically, and emotionally. He immediately sends for his former Crusading comrade, Sir Hugh for help. Hugh asks his sister, Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal Priory to come. She also sees the value of transporting others with her who have special skills that could assist such as Master Gamel, a physician, Sister Anne, a healer, and Brother Thomas.
The group travels slowly through the cold, wet weather and arrives at the castle just in time to view someone jumping from a window to their death. They quickly discover that was the third son of the Baron to die since he left for the Crusades. Needless to say, life is not cheery in this dismal castle. Added to this, the Baron refuses any physical contact with his family or even his wife and no explanation is given.
Is the castle cursed? Is someone killing his heirs? Did two of the sons choose to die?
Sometimes there is a delicate balance between realism and what readers enjoy. It is difficult to calculate since each reader has their own personal criteria. In a story like this one where the content is depressing but necessary, the reading even though enthralling, can seem like it drags when it really doesn’t. With so much death in the story, it feels like there is no season for the healing.
There is richness in A Killing Season with the language and the authentic voice of the time period. Priscilla Royal masterfully intertwines these within a very realistic story in creating this Gothic mystery. Even though this is the eighth book in this series featuring Prioress Eleanor of Tyndal Priory, the story and characters are easily understood without having read the previous novels. All of Priscilla Royal’s novels are superb examples of life during the medieval time period and I highly recommend all her novels.

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