Mysterious, Apr 2002, 23.95, 320 pp.
In 1370 St. David's, Wales Owen Archer looks forward to returning home to his wife Lucie and their children now that his family business in his homeland is finished. However, his departure becomes delayed when the local Archdeacon orders Owen to investigate the death of Cynog the mason, whom seemingly hung himself. Owen begins making inquiries even as he sympathizes with the local rebels.
While Owen remains stuck in Wales, a customer accuses apothecary Lucie of poisoning her. Widower Roger Moreton helps Lucie with the accusation and with the handling of her late father's estate. Among other distracters, some not so minor, include whether Owen will ever return to his beloved family as rumors fly he joined the cause of the rebellious Welsh.
The two story lines remain on separate tracks until the very end. Though a bit disjointed historical fiction fans will relish the depth that Candace Robb furbishes on Welsh history including maps of York and St. David and a short glossary. Those readers interested in an Archer mystery will find his investigation takes a back seat to the insight into the era while the lead male protagonist also shares the novel with his wife's activities that further supplement the deep look into the late fourteenth century. A SPY FOR THE REDEEMER is either a cavity extraction (for historical mystery aficionados) or a wonderfully vivid tale (historical fiction buffs) depending on the reader's particular genre taste.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner
Candace Robb's Owen Archer series always gives the reader
an exciting accounting of life in the 14th century! In this
seventh tale of Archer, once again, he is on business for John of Gaunt. As the book opens, he has finished his work in Wales and is all set to go home to York and to his lovely wife Lucy, an apothecary herself. Owen's absences have begun to strain their marriage! In "A Spy for the Redeemer," Robb concentrates more of her action on Lucy, who must journey to her father's manor outside York. Harold Godfrey, a new steward to one of her neighbors, is assigned to accompany her. As the plot becomes more entangled (or involved!), the reader also gets caught up in
Robb's bigger picture concerning Lucy and Owen. At the same time Owen is caught up in a terrible civil war struggle in Wales, his homeland, and Robb sets us up to feel
that Owen's dilemma here may be more costly than he ever could have conceived!
This report prepared by Bill Hobbs