Cruel as the Grave Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Cruel as the Grave

This is the second book in a series by Sharon Kay Penman, about Justin De Quincy the lowly orphan who rises to become the queen's man. It is set in the 12th century during the strife of King Richard and Prince John. Justin, the queen's man or spy, during his free time gets involved in investigating a common local murder of a young pretty peddler's daughter who is left dead in the graveyard of a church. The clues are sparse at first from the ripped bodice, to the actual location yet slowly other small clues come forward. Who could have killed her is the big question for the suspects are her boyfriend, his jealous brother, their prideful father, her disgraced father and maybe even a stranger, each with his own motive. To the local authorities eye it looks like a rape gone wrong, but to Justin he is bound by friendship to prove the truth. Luke from the first book comes back to play the supporting role to help out in the investigation with his uncanny eye for crime scenes.
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The review of this Book prepared by Karyn Silvan

Chapter Analysis of Cruel as the Grave

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   character killed during/after sexing Kind of investigator    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   spy Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Sharon Kay Penman Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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