RELICS
Pip Vaughan-Hughes

 


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Orion Publishing, June 2006
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

It is 1235, and Brother Petroc is a novice monk in rural England. Life is good. His only struggle with sin is resisting the advances of the local village girls. While enjoying a drink with his friend, he is seized by a sinister Templar Knight, Sir Hugh de Kervezey, who persuades Petroc to fetch him a relic of the hand of Saint Euphemia from the local Cathedral so it can be given to the Bishop. Shortly after, Petroc is fleeing for his life. His best friend, and a church cleric, is murdered by Kervezey, and Petroc is accused of both the murders and of thieving the priceless relic. Petroc must avoid those seeking him and somehow bring the right man to justice. What follows is a thrilling adventure story complete with faked relics, murder, conspiracy theories, pirates, an evil Knight Templar and a damsel in distress.

I get the feeling that RELICS is going to be the first of a series. Author Pip Vaughan-Hughes spends a considerable part of his debut book introducing, and giving background to, the main characters. Having said that, this is a good first novel, and it is obvious that a lot of historical research has gone into this book, so that the reader is drawn vividly into thirteenth century life through the eyes of Petroc. He does spend an excessive amount of time soul searching over the murder of his best friend and his faith. However this is counteracted by sword fights and street chases and sea voyages. A rollicking good read.

Aug 2006 review originally published on Murder & Mayhem

 

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