Select one of the keywords
Wine of Violence    by Priscilla Royal order for
Wine of Violence
by Priscilla Royal
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Medieval mystery Wine of Violence is Priscilla Royal's first novel. She writes of the small priory Tyndal on the East Anglican coast of England, in the late summer of 1270. It's a fascinating look into monastic life at that time. Tyndal priory was unusual in that both monks and nuns lived, worked and prayed at the same facility.

The tale opens as a new prioress arrives to take command on the death of her predecessor. Eleanor senses that she is not welcomed because of her sex and age - a mere twenty. It does seem young, but considering the life expectancy in those times, she would have been more mature than twenty-year-olds today. She contends with murder almost upon arrival and things go from bad to worse, when a second murder follows on the heels of the first. Eleanor handles herself with outward aplomb, despite self-doubt.

For a debut effort, this is good. I would hope though that the author's subsequent efforts spend less time on reflection and more on action. Though the research into medieval times is well done, I would like to have had more description of surroundings (location is a big part of this story) and the clothing worn by both the religious and the villagers. And though food plays a minor role in the plot, it is never put on the plate for the reader to accept or reject.

Apart from such nit-picking, Wine of Violence is worth the read, and I look forward to more from Priscilla Royal.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews