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    Review of THE KING'S SPIES by Simon Beaufort

    Severn House, 2003

    When King Henry I calls him home from the First Crusade, Sir Geoffrey Mappestone knows the result can only be trouble. Henry doesn't especially like Geoffrey, but he does have some control over him--because of Geoffrey's English estates. What Henry demands is that Geoffrey infiltrate an enemy Earl's camp and ensure the destruction of his fortress. Since Earl Robert de Belleme already hates Geoffrey, this isn't an easy task. And the task is made that much tougher when Geoffrey comes across Belleme's nephew--recently hung to death--and becomes a suspect in the murder himself.

    Belleme has heard of Geoffrey's sleuthing abilities, though, and gives him a week to find the true killer. Of course, Geoffrey has to stay alive for that week first, and things look increasingly dicey as the reign of murder continues.

    Author Simon Beaufort explores a fascinating historical period--when Normans and Saxons still jostled in England, when the Crusades were at their very beginning when all things seemed possible, when magic was a very real force, and when the English crown rested uneasily between Henry and his older brother, the Duke of Normandy. Beaufort dresses up his story with Greek fire, female knights, a gay squire, Geoffrey's loyal but not-so-bright friend Roger, and Belleme's beautiful but dangerous sisters.

    Fans of medieval historical action and of historical mystery are certain to enjoy this well written story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/16/04

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