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The King’s Bishop

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The King’s Bishop (1996) Candace Robb

The King's BishopSet in England in 1367.

We see that Owen still struggles with his allegiance to Thoresby.

“Why did you accept the posts if you meant to go into a rage whenever he called upon you?”

Owen met Lucie’s eye and said simply, “It seemed an honour at the time.”

Lucie is more pragmatic, but that doesn’t mean things are easier for her.

“He says he cannot leave me with a babe in arms and an apprentice who is but eleven years old. Who will protect us?” Lucie tucked the now sleeping baby into her cradle. “We have gone round and round about it. I cannot make him see reason. We live in a walled city surrounded by friends, under the protection of a powerful guild, and surely God will watch over Owen’s family while he is serving the Archbishop.” Lucie settled back in the chair, pressing her fingers to her temples. “He hovers over us, Bess. He will drive me mad.”

But to be honest, this story is as much about Archbishop Thoresby as it is about Owen and Lucie (and Ned).

Owen grew serious again. “Do you ever regret serving under Archbishop Thoresby?”

Jehannes looked surprised. “Never. He is a good man.”

When Owen’s eyebrow rose, the Archdeacon shrugged. “As good as the circumstances allow him to be.”

“That smacks of cynicism.”

“It is not meant that way, truly. You are a fortunate man to serve His Grace.”

Because Thoresby has reached the point where he no longer believes he can in good conscience serve as Chancellor. He is looking back upon his life, and looking forward to the few years he has left, and doubting that he has served God in the manner he was meant to, and he knows that he continues to lose favor with the king, over Alive Perriers.

Fortunate man to be able to confine himself to what he excelled in. Thoresby should try that. But it was too late to change. Too late.

However, the mystery resolves around King Edward trying to get William of Wykeham appointed to the see of Winchester, so he can then be made the King’s Chancellor (replacing Thoresby).

Instead, the King pushes his favourite at His Holiness, a favourite on whom the King has already lavished an array of benefices that bring him indecent wealth, a favourite who has attracted enemies. Naturally His Holiness sees this as a dangerous situation; such a prominent, wealthy, political man, a man so important to the King, will not suddenly change his allegiance and withdraw his attention from the court to focus on the see of Winchester. His diocese will become a pawn in the King’s hands.”

The politics get a bit deep in this story, but I think they’re undesrtandable. What was a bit confusing about this story are the reasons for the murders. There are secrets, except they aren’t secrets from the King, so it’s never really clear to me just why the murders happened.

But then again, one of the things I love about this books are the little glimpses into how people acted and believed at that time (as much as we can know that from this far out).

Gwen Thorpe believed that to complain of pain was to criticise God’s judgement.

Owen shook his head. “We shall not speak of such things while Gwenllian is suckling.” Men had the oddest sense of order, Lucie thought.

The other thing I especially like is the slow redemption of Michaelo.

Owen had noticed the subtle changes in the secretary. It was difficult to believe he had once been the toady of Archdeacon Anselm.

I’m always a sucker for a good redemption arc.

So, the mystery was somewhat confusion, but I did enjoy the characters and the history.

Publisher: Diversion Books
Rating: 7/10

Categories: British, Historical, Mystery, Re-Read     Comments (0)    



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