AD 848. Bernwyn of Lythe spurns marriage and chooses to remain a virgin, dedicated to Christ. When she is found murdered in a chapel, butterflies found resting on her body are taken to be a sign from God. But what if Bernwyn was not all she seemed? Could her saintly deeds have been mistakenly attributed to her, and the people have set up a shrine to a false virgin?
Oxford, 1154. When the first performance of The Play of Adam ends in tragedy, the author pens a grim warning for the generations that follow: ‘Beward the sins of envy and vainglory, else foul murder ends your story'. But his words are not heeded, and as the play is performed in many guises throughout the ages, bad luck seems to follow after those involved in its production…
Sword of Shame is the second collaboration by five of the UK's finest historical mystery writers. Each brings their own characters to these interlinked tales, which tell the story of a cursed Norman sword. From its first arrival in Britain, with the Norman forces of William the Conqueror, violence and revenge are the cursed sword's constant companions.
"Just couldn't get into it"
Bermondsey Priory, 1114. A young chaplain succumbs to the temptations of the flesh - and suffers a gruesome punishment. From that moment, the monastery is cursed and over the next five hundred years murder and treachery abound within its hallowed walls. A beautiful young bride found dead two days before her wedding. A ghostly figure that warns of impending doom. A plot to depose King Edward II.
Bath Abbey, 1199: The monks' peaceful existence is disturbed when the Abbey's unpopular prior is found dead on Solsbury Hill. For it is said that on Solsbury Hill, only those who are pure in heart can survive a night when the moon is full. Determined to get to the bottom of the suspicious circumstances surrounding the prior's death, Gwenllian launches a daring investigation that puts her in great danger.
A hidden hoard of Saxon gold. A poisoned priest. A monk skinned alive in Westminster Abbey. Only one thing is certain: whoever comes into possession of the cursed book meets a gruesome and untimely end.