In 1376, the famed Black Prince, eldest and favoured son of the warrior king, Edward III, died of a terrible rotting sickness. The following year his father died too, his former glories forgotten. A bitter old man, the king was deserted at the last by everyone, including his mistress, Alice Perrers, who remained long enough to strip the dying man of any finery he had left. Now the crown of England is left in the hands of a mere boy, the future Richard II. The great nobles, led by Richard's uncle and Regent, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, gather like hungry wolves round the empty throne. And a bitter power struggle threatens to break out, dragging in Prelates of the church as well as the powerful Merchant Princes of London. One of these, Sir Thomas Springall, is foully murdered in his mansion in the Strand within a few days of the old king's death. Sir John Cranston, the Falstaffian coroner of the City of London, is ordered to investigate Springall's slaying. His clerk is Brother Athelstan, a Dominican monk who is working in the slums of Southwark to atone for his own offences against his faith and church. Trying to solve the mystery surrounding Springall's death and the ghastly murders of others associated with the dead Merchant Prince they move from the sinister secrets of Nightshade House in the slums of Whitefriars to the barbaric splendour of the English court, and are drawn ever deeper into the dark web of intrigue ...
Paul Harding - PC Doherty
Classic Crime Fiction
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