Large Print Reviews
Justice for the Damned
By Priscilla Royal
Also available: 20 point Super Large Print edition
Justice for the Damned
By Priscilla Royal
Read How You Want, (2009)
EasyRead Large Print, in 16 Point Font
(Originally Published in Standard Print by Poisoned Pen Press)
Genre: Medieval Mystery
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 10, 2010
The fourth book in Priscilla Royal's famed series of medieval mysteries featuring Eleanor, Prioress of Tyndal, is Justice for the Damned. In fine style, Royal brings the world of medieval England to life while at the same time delivering a compelling mystery that will keep you up all night just so you can finish the book in one sitting!
This story takes place in England, in the year 1272. As the story opens, Eleanor who recently recovered from a near-deadly case of the ague, has returned home to Amesbury Priory to spend time visiting with, and recuperating, under the care of her beloved Aunt, Sister Beatrice, the Novice Mistress at Amesbury Priory, and temporarily acting as the Prioress. Although only twenty-two, Eleanor is the Prioress of Tyndal located on the East Anglian coast, a task that she seems well capable of handling. However, unlike the saintly figures that inhabit many stories about monks and nuns, Eleanor is full of angst and is not as stalwart a holy figure as some might suppose of someone of her station. Despite her vows, she suffers from the same frailties as most women - one of which is finding that her heart can become besotted, even against her will. In this case, she has feelings for her friend, Brother Thomas, who is in Amesbury trying to prevent the theft of a valuable Psaltery - and battling his own demons.
Eleanor's hopes for a quiet visit to Amesbury Priory are soon dashed when a ghost appears to be haunting Amesbury, and the locals are divided on whether the ghost is that of Queen Elfrida, or that of a young woman who drowned herself in the Avon. While the identity of the ghost may be questionable, there is no question about the identities of the murder victims that start to turn up in Amesbury. Sister Eleanor and Brother Thomas find that they must once again team up to catch the killer and to discover what secrets lie at the heart of this mystery.
In writing Justice for the Damned, Priscilla Royal has crafted an outstanding mystery that brings the medieval monastic experience to life, in much the same way that Ellis Peter did with her Brother Cadfael mysteries. However, the comparison ends there. Cadfael was a mature man, who had long since tamed most of his demons and come to terms with his previous life as a soldier. Eleanor and Thomas, on the other hand, are both young and still have a lot to learn, not only about themselves, but also their vocations. It is their many flaws that help to make them such interesting and multidimensional characters. Even more important, Royal has crafted a well-plotted mystery into which she has expertly interwoven several intriguing subplots. As well, she provides a nice, unexpected twist at the end of the story, all of which makes for a very satisfying and enjoyable read! As an extra bonus, Royal has included some interesting author's notes at the end of the text, in which she explores the true life history of Amesbury Priory and other details about the period in which this novel is set.
Justice for the Damned is available from Read How You Want, an on-demand publisher that makes books available in a variety of formats including Braille, DAISY, and five different large print formats. This range of formats makes this, and other books, available not only to visually impaired individuals, but also anyone with a reading or physical disability that makes reading standard print books difficult.
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