Library Journal - November 15, 2003

Although you might not realize it from reading recent historical fiction set in the Middle Ages, other women lived in the 12th Century besides Eleanor of Aquitaine. In this well-plotted debut, Princess Alais Capet is the heroine-and a delightful one at that. Brave, outspoken, and passionate, Alais was a real historical figure, sister to the king of France and also, somewhat shockingly, mistress to Henry II (her stepfather) while Eleanor was locked up in the tower at Sarum. Set years later, the novel opens with the aging Eleanor calling upon Alais to fetch important papers hidden in Canterbury Cathedral. Along the way, the princess encounters Benedictine scholars, the Knights Templar, and a hostile King John. There are details aplenty of medieval life and lore, but the place moves at the breakneck speed as Alais travels from France to England and back again on the trial of what becomes an evermore complex mystery involving the crown of England. This will appeal both to fans of historical fiction and medieval/Renaissance mystery series by such authors as Fionna Buckley, Karen Harper, Kate Sedley, and Peter Tremayne. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
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