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The Queen's Man [Format Kindle]

Sharon Penman
2.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

THE BISHOP'S PALACE,
CHESTER, ENGLAND

December 1192


"Do you think the king is dead?"

Aubrey de Quincy was caught off balance and furious with himself for his
negligence; he ought to have expected this. Throughout their meal, the
sole topic had been King Richard's disappearance. All of England--and
indeed, most of Christendom--talked of little else this Christmastide, for
more than two months had passed since the Lionheart had sailed from Acre.
By December, other crusaders had begun to reach English ports. But none had word of the king.

Had the query been posed by one of his other guests, Aubrey would have
taken it for natural curiosity. Coming from Hugh de Nonant, it was neither
random nor innocent. Coventry's worldly bishop had few peers when it came
to conversational ambushes, laying his verbal snares so deftly that his
quarry rarely sensed danger until it was too late.

Aubrey had no intention, though, of falling heedlessly into the other
bishop's trap. Stalling for time, he signaled for more wine; he prided
himself upon his hospitality, so much so that men said none in the Marches
set a finer table than His Grace, the Bishop of Chester. The servers were
bringing in the next course, a large peacock afloat in a sea of gravy,
bones strutted and skin and feathers painstakingly refitted, a sight
impressive enough to elicit admiring murmurs from the guests. Aubrey's
cooks had labored for hours to create this culinary masterpiece. Now he
gazed at it with indifferent eyes, for the shadow of treason had fallen
across the hall.

Was King Richard dead? Many men thought so, for certes. In alehouses and
taverns, they argued whether his ship had been sunk in a gale or attacked
by pirates. The credulous speculated about sea monsters. But as the weeks
went by, more and more of the missing king's subjects suspected that he
was dead, must be dead. And none willed it more passionately than the man
Hugh de Nonant served.

The Crusade had been a failure; not even so fine a soldier-king as Richard
had been able to reclaim Jerusalem from the infidels. But to Aubrey, the
Lionheart's greatest failure was that he'd not sired a son. He'd named his
young nephew Arthur as his heir, but Arthur was a child, dwelling with his
mother in Brittany. There was another royal rival, one much closer at
hand, Richard's younger brother, John, Count of Mortain. No one doubted
that John would seek to deny Arthur the crown. What none could be sure of,
however, was what the queen mother would do. All knew that Queen Eleanor
and John were estranged. Yet he was still her son. If it came to war, whom
would she back: John or Arthur?

Aubrey doubted that John would make a good king, for if the serpent was
"more subtle than any beast of the field," so, too, was Queen Eleanor's
youngest son, unfettered by scruples or conscience qualms. But he did not
doubt that John would prevail over Arthur--one way or another. And so he'd
concluded that if he were ever faced with that choice, he'd throw his lot
in with John.

But this was far more dangerous. The Bishop of Coventry's deceptively
innocuous question confirmed Aubrey's worst fears. John was not willing to
wait for word of Richard's death. John had never been one for waiting. But
what if Richard was not dead? What if he returned to reclaim his crown? If
Arthur was no match for John, neither was John a match for Richard. His wrath would
be terrible to behold. And even if he eventually forgave John, there would
be no forgiveness for the men who'd backed him.

But Aubrey knew that if he balked at supporting John's coup and Richard
was indeed dead, he'd be squandering his one chance to gain a king's
favor. For John nursed a grudge to the grave, and he'd not be forgetting
who stood with him . . . and who had not.

"Well?" the Bishop of Coventry prodded, smiling amiably as if they were
merely exchanging pleasantries. "What say you? Is he dead?"

Aubrey's own smile was as bland as almond milk. "If I knew the answer to
that question, my lord bishop, I'd be riding straightaway for London to
inform the queen."

"I fear the worst, alas," Hugh confided, though with no noticeable regret.
"If evil has not befallen him, surely his whereabouts would be known by
now."

"I'm not ready to abandon all hope," Aubrey parried, "and for certes, the
queen is not."

"It is to be expected that a mother would cling to the last shreds of
hope, no matter how meagre or paltry. But the rest of us do not have that
luxury, for how long can England be without a king?" Hugh had a pleasant
voice, mellow and intimate, ideal for sharing secrets, and his words
reached Aubrey's ear alone. "How long dare we wait?"

Aubrey was spared the need to reply by the sudden appearance of his
steward on the dais. "My lord bishop, may I have a word with you?"

"What is it, Martin? Is something amiss?"

"It is Justin, my lord. He rode in a few moments ago, is insisting that he
must see you at once."

"Justin?" Aubrey was startled and not pleased. "Tell him I will see him
after the meal is done and my guests have gone to their beds. Have the
cooks see that he is fed." To Aubrey's surprise, the steward made no move
to withdraw. "Well?"

The man shifted uncomfortably. "It is just that . . . that the lad seems
sorely distraught, my lord. In truth, I've never seen him like this. I do
not think he's of a mind to wait."

Aubrey kept his temper in check; he had contempt for men who were ruled by
emotion and impulse. "I am not offering him a choice," he said coolly.
"See to it."

He was vexed by Justin's unexpected and ill-timed arrival, and vaguely
uneasy, too, with that peculiar discomfort that only Justin could provoke.
Nor was his mood improved to realize that Hugh de Nonant had overheard the
entire exchange.

"Who is Justin?"

Aubrey gave a dismissive shrug. "No one you know, my
lord . . . a foundling I took in some years back."

He'd hoped that Hugh would take the hint and let the matter drop. But the
Bishop of Coventry had an eerie ability to scent out secrets. Like a pig
rooting after acorns, Aubrey thought sourly, finding himself forced by the
other's unseemly and persistent curiosity to explain that Justin's mother
had died giving him birth. "The father was known but to God, and there
were none to tend to the babe. It was my parish and so when his plight was
brought to my attention, I agreed to do what I could. It is our duty,
after all, to succor Christ's poor. As Scriptures say, 'Suffer the little
children to come unto me.' "

"Very commendable," Hugh said, with hearty approval that would not have
been suspect had the speaker been anyone else. He was regarding Aubrey
benevolently, and Aubrey could only marvel at how deceptive outer
packaging could be. The two men were utterly unlike in appearance: Aubrey
tall and slim and elegant, his fair hair closely cropped and shot through
with silver, and Hugh rotund and ruddy and balding, looking for all the
world like a good-natured, elderly monk. But Aubrey knew this
grandfatherly mien camouflaged a shrewd, cynical intelligence, and Hugh's
curiosity about Justin was neither idle nor benign. Ever on the alert for
weaknesses, the good bishop. And Aubrey was suddenly very angry with
Justin for attracting the notice of so dangerous a man as Hugh de Nonant.

"It may be, though, that you've been too indulgent with the lad," Hugh
remarked placidly. "It does seem rather presumptuous of him to demand an
audience with you."

Aubrey declined the bait. "I've never had reason to complain of his
manners . . . until now. You may be sure that I'll take him to task for
it."

A loud fanfare of trumpets turned all heads toward the door, heralding the
arrival of the meal's piËce de rÈsistance: a great, glazed boar's head on
a gleaming silver platter. Men leaned forward in their seats to see,
Aubrey's minstrels struck up a carol, and in the flurry of the moment, the
bishop's foundling was forgotten.

Aubrey began to relax, once more the gracious host, a role he played well.
The respite gave him the chance, too, to consider his options. He must
find a way to intimate--without actually saying so--that he was indeed
sympathetic to John's cause, but not yet ready to commit himself, not
until there was irrefutable proof of King Richard's death.

It was the sharp-eyed Hugh who first noticed the commotion at the far end
of the hall. In the doorway, the steward was remonstrating with a tall,
dark youth. As Hugh watched, the younger man pulled free of the steward's
restraining hold and stalked up the center aisle toward the dais. Hugh
leaned over and touched his host's sleeve. "May I assume that angry young
interloper is your foundling?"

Oblivious to the intruder bearing down upon them, Aubrey had been
conversing politely with the seatmate to his left, the venerable abbot of
Chester's abbey of St Werburgh. At Hugh's amused warning, he stiffened in
disbelief, then shoved his chair back.

Striding down the steps of the dais, he confronted Justin as he reached
the open hearth, trailed by the steward. "How dare you force your way into
my hall! Are you drunk?"

"We need to talk," Justin said tersely, and Aubrey stared at him
incredulously, unable to believe that Justin could be defying him like
this.

He was acutely aware of all the curious eyes upon them. The steward was
hovering several feet away, looking utterly miserable--as well ...

Revue de presse

"A glowing, living tapestry. This is storytelling at its finest."
-The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Full of swordplay, bawdy byplay, and derring-do, THE QUEEN'S MAN is a full-bodied historical romp, steeped in period detail."
-The Houston Chronicle

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1625 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 291 pages
  • Editeur : Head of Zeus (16 septembre 2013)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00DTWHTNC
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 2.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°50.943 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires en ligne

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Le club des 5 au moyen âge 30 avril 2014
Par Kim
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Je n'ai pas aimé ce livre mais c'est en partie de ma faute, parce que je n'ai pas suffisamment fait attention en l'achetant et je pensais avoir affaire à un roman historique. C'est aussi un peu la faute d'amazon parce que le court extrait présenté n'est pas du tout, mais pas du tout (j'insiste, vraiment pas du tout) représentatif de la suite du livre.

Il s'agit en fait d'une intrigue policière qui se déroule au XIIe Siecle en Angleterre. L'histoire, ainsi que son héro, sont purement fictifs et honnêtement les 2 sont assez mauvais. Le héro est tout droit sorti d'un des livres de détectives que je lisais à l'âge de 10 ans, gentil, intrépide, naïf, chanceux, très chanceux et qui se fait plein d'amis très gentils. L'histoire est banale et ennuyeuse, sans grand intérêt et la seule bonne surprise est venue quand je me suis rendue compte que le livre est déjà fini vers 80% du fichier...

Je ne mets que 2 étoiles parce que même si ça se laisse lire, Sharon Penman peut faire beaucoup mieux que ça!
Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ?
3.0 étoiles sur 5 un,moment de détente sur fond historique 5 décembre 2013
Par manou
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
l'histoire se déroule bien autour du personnage qui progresse peut être un peu trop facilement
avec des rencontres opportunes
se lit facilement sans prise de tête
Avez-vous trouvé ce commentaire utile ?
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  106 commentaires
110 internautes sur 116 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Unique Historical Murder Mystery 12 août 2002
Par Richard R. Carlton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
A unique creation by Sharon Penman, DeQuincy, is placed in a medieval secret agent role as Queen Eleanor's "man". Although I was skeptical at first, I found Penman's feel for the medieval England of Henry & Eleanor from her previous historical novels sets such a great stage for the storyline that I couldn't help but be drawn into her tale, which is set in England in 1192-1193. In fact, I also found the follow up "Cruel As The Grave" worthwhile.
Penman emerged long ago as one of the best historical novelists and continues to solidify her reputation with each new release. The "Queen's
Man" novels are unique side trips where she plays with fictional characters based on her strong historical story lines. Penman's special genius
lies in the bright and shining historical detail that she can weave into both plot and dialog (she's a very good student of history and at
times is absolutely brilliant in conveying to us the workings of medieval minds).
Penman's true genius is the broad historical scope that is painted on top of the shimmering details of brief moments. It truely does feel as if you
are living the story yourself, and it is this bringing us readers in as witnesses that stands as Penman's contribution to the art of the historical
novel.
If you prefer to read in chronological order:
1101-1154 When Christ And His Saints Slept (Vol 1 of Trilogy)
1156-1171 Time And Space (Vol 2 of Trilogy)
12th Cent Devil's Brood (Vol 3 of Trilogy)- not yet released
1192-1193 The Queen's Man
1193 Cruel As The Grave
1183-1232 Here Be Dragons (Vol 1 of Welsh Trilogy)
1231-1267 Falls The Shadow (Vol 2 of Welsh Trilogy)
1271-1283 The Reckoning (Vol 3 of Welsh Trilogy)
1459-1492 The Sunne In Splendour
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Disappointing, as was her last short book. 25 novembre 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I am an unabashed Sharon Kay Penman fan. Having found my first SKP novel some years ago, I devoured the others as they became available and anxiously awaited each new book; I've now read them all, some more than once. I remain enthralled by the author's special gift of telling a full-length story without losing the reader's attention and still attending to accurate historical detail.
However, her recent attempt to weave another short tale of mystery has once again fallen far short of her previous success with the longer novels. I implore the author to return to her gift: historical stories with a sound factual basis. These two mysteries (Cruel as The Grave and The Queen's Man), similar to the Ellis Peters genre, are clearly mediocre in comparison to "When Christ and His Saints Slept", etc. I feel as if I have listened to someone with the voice, reputation and character of Winston Churchill try and read Ann Landers' column over the radio; no matter how one hears it, it's just all wrong.
27 internautes sur 30 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I feel compelled to act! 22 août 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
Having not read any other of Penman's books prior to the Queen's Man (a tragedy i soon rectified), i came to this exceptional novel from a somewhat different perspective than the average Medieval History aficionado. I, in fact, had long since forgotten almost all i once new of medieval history.
From this starting point, i feel that the previous reviews of this book are a bit unfair. My wife (who is a certified Medieval History aficionado and owner of all Penman books) finally convinced me give this book a whirl on one of my many :( intl. business trips this year. Trapped on a plane for hours on end, I read. This book grabbed me from page one!
Every last character, real or fictional, was developed in a beautifully three dimensional way that is rare indeed. I became enchanted by the setting in its historical detail to the point where I could really imagine walking the streets of medieval London or the dungeons of the local gaol. The central story of the murder mystery is used as a vehicle to tie together the threads of history, plots, sub-plots, betrayals, love stories and more.
Breathtaking! When your done, Book 2: Cruel is the Grave is even better. I am currently reading When Christ and His Saints Slept and I daresay I'm addicted.
The Queen's Man and Cruel is the Grave are no doubt lighter in nature to her other Historical Novels, but will be far more accessible to the bulk of readers. Likely to wet your appetite for her more intimidating novels (which I highly recommend too and are equally addicting).
I hope this review convinces others to enter Penman's world, for I feel sure they will not regret it.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Queen's Man for Medieaval Fan 2 août 1997
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A mystery is a notoriously hard genre to write in, but SharonPenman does an extremely creditable job. This book, written like asorbet to clense her palate before tackling her next large project involving Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry's romantic lives, gives an intriguing whiff of how good that book will be.

The aged Eleanor is concerned about the safety and life of her favorite son, Richard the Lionhearted, while her husband's favorite, John, currently sits on the throne. The murder of an obscure merchant, who might have valuable information regarding the Lionheart's whereabouts, is investigatd by Justin, who is given a "passport" to question which identifies him as "The Queen's Man".

Court politics and personalities are well handled by Penman, as always, but what makes this sorty of particular interest is her gift for portraying the life of the commoners and villiens in a story as well. Like Ellis Peters, her detecting relies on only the available technology and knowledge of the time, making her story credible as well as puzzling. The book passes muster as a mystery on its own, but fans of the medieval world will find it particularly enjoyable.
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful medieval mystery 12 août 2004
Par Ellis Bell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Poche
When Richard the Lionhearted goes missing, a merchant, carrying news about the King's whereabouts, is murdered on the road. Queen Eleanor hires your Justin de Quincey to solve the murder. Was the murderer a member of the merchant's family? Or did thugs, sent by the King of France, kill him? In this tale of historical intrigue, Sharon Kay Penman weaves a brilliant tapestry of deception, guilt and betrayal. While I don't enjoy her Murder Mysteries as much as I do her epic Trilogies, Penman puts a lot of work into the stories she tells, and carries them out beautifully, with much attention to detail. Her characters seem modern; though Penman's conversational tone makes those characters so very easy to understand. It is a scintillating, refreshing approach to the murder mystery.
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