Covenant with Hell: A Medieval Mystery
Poisoned Pen Press (2013)
Reviewed by Tamra LeValley for Reader Views (12/13)
“Covenant with Hell: A Medieval Mystery” by Priscilla Royal takes readers on a pilgrimage that turns into a murder mystery. Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas have traveled to the East Anglian shrine to find solace and forgiveness in God. While there a nun turns up dead. Was it suicide or murder? After discovering that it was indeed murder, these two must break the rules of the covenant that they are honoring and find out who did this and why this happened. They stumble upon an assassination plot to kill King Edward on his pilgrimage. They befriend a little waif who is starving but seems to have a lot of answers to this twisted plot. Saving the King and the little waif name Graci is now of the utmost importance. How do they do that without harming themselves? They must figure out who the real villain before it becomes too late.
In “Covenant with Hell” the author has a writing style that forces the reader to slow down and really enjoy the book. The only problem that I find troublesome was the fact that I had to reread quite a few entries because of the complex wording. I would get lost in the sentences and lose track of the story itself. All the character were either loved or hated. There was no in-between. The author did a fabulous job in her writing of each character also. They were all vivid and each had their own personalities that the reader could actually feel. In particular, Graci was written with such personality and love that my emotions were entangled with her. I wanted to adopt her! The landscape within the story was also very well written. I could actually map out the covenant in my mind.
The plot was a typical who-dun-it plot. It was pretty clear who the villain was from the start of the story but that fact did not take away from the story overall. I also thought that the last chapter could have been left out completely. The story line was complete and the plot fulfilled. Entering the last chapter felt as though the author was making a political statement. It added nothing to the overall affect of the book.
I believe “Covenant with Hell: A Medieval Mystery” by Priscilla Royal is a must read. Even though it is not action packed, it is a steady read.