Identifying the murderer of the Chancellor of the university is not the only challenge facing physician Matthew Bartholomew. Many of his patients have been made worse by the ministrations of a 'surgeon' recently arrived from Nottingham, his sister is being rooked by the mason she has commissioned to build her husband's tomb and his friend, Brother Michael, has been offered a bishopric which will cause him to leave Cambridge.
"Excellent series, looking for more in audio"
Masters of the historical mystery, authors Michael Jecks, Susanna Gregory, Bernard Knight, Ian Morson, Philip Gooden, Simon Beaufort, and C.J. Sansom band together as The Medieval Murderers to craft this thrilling tale. In 1067 Greenland, a strange stone falls from the sky. Over the next 600 years, violence and death follow whoever possesses it, including crusading knights, a dying King Henry III, and a troupe of His Majesty King James I’s players.
"It didn't keep me listening..."
In the summer of 1358 the physician Matthew Bartholomew returns to Cambridge to learn that his beloved sister is in mourning after the unexpected death of her husband, Oswald Stanmore. Aware that his son has no interest in the cloth trade that made his fortune and reputation, Oswald has left the business to his widow, but a spate of burglaries in the town distracts Matthew from supporting Edith in her grief and attempting to keep the peace between her and her wayward son.
"My only issue is that there aren't more of these.."
The plague raging through London in 1665 has emptied the city. The only people left are those too poor to flee or those who selflessly struggle to control the contagion and safeguard the capital's future. Amongst them, though, are those prepared to risk their health for money - those who sell dubious 'cures' and hawk food at wildly inflated prices. Also amongst them are those who hold in their hands the future of the city's most iconic building - St Paul's Cathedral.
It is not long before they learn that the friary in which they are staying is not the safe haven they imagine - one guest has already been murdered. It soon emerges that the dead man was holding the Hugh Chalice, a Lincoln relic with a curiously bloody history. Bartholomew and Michael are soon drawn into a web of murder, lies and suspicion in a city where neither knows who can be trusted.
London in the spring of 1665 is a city full of fear. There is plague in the stews of St Giles, the Dutch fleet is preparing to invade, and a banking crisis threatens to leave Charles II's government with no means of paying for the nation's defence.Amid the tension, Thomas Chaloner is ordered to investigate the murder of Dick Wheler, one of the few goldsmith-bankers to have survived the losses that have driven others to bankruptcy - or worse.
"Not Chaloner's Best"
February 1355: Oxford explodes in one of the most serious riots of its history. Fearing for their lives, the scholars flee, and some choose the University at Cambridge as their temporary refuge. But they don't remain safe for long. Within hours of their arrival, the first of their number dies, followed quickly by a second. When Matthew Bartholomew begins to investigate the deaths, he uncovers evidence that the Oxford riot was not a case of random violence, but part of a carefully orchestrated plot.
In 1358, over a century after its foundation in Cambridge, the college of Michael house is facing a serious shortfall of funds and competition from upstarts rivals such as Zachary Hostel. Their problems are made no easier by the hostility of the town's inhabitants who favour the university moving away to the Fens. This simmering tension threatens to break into violence when a well-known tradesman is found dead in one of the colleges.
"Never Stopped Laughing - My Favorite Series"
Matthew Bartholomew doesn't want to travel to Peterborough in the summer of 1358, but his friendship with the lovely Julitta Holm has caused a scandal in Cambridge, so he has no choice. He is one of a party of Bishop's Commissioners, charged to discover what happened to Peterborough's abbot, who went for a ride one day and has not been seen since. When the Commissioners arrive, they find the town in turmoil.
"A Great Medieval Mystery with humor"
In the sapping summer heat of 1665, there is little celebration in London of the naval victory at the Battle of Lowestoft. The King, his retinue and anyone with sufficient means has fled the plague-ridden city, its half-deserted streets echoing the sound of bells tolling the mounting number of deaths. Those who remain clutch doubtful potions to ward off the relentless disease and dart nervously past shuttered buildings, watchful for the thieves who risk their lives to plunder what has been left behind.
"Too complicated and hard to follow"
It's 1665, and the capital is awash with rumours of conspiracy. Thomas Chaloner knows that there are few grains of truth in the rumour-mill, but the loss of an important warship and the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason. As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. Then, as he comes to know more about the Fifth Monarchists and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a number of connections.
Spring, 1663: public London is executing plans to mark the third anniversary of the Restoration. Private London, murky, dangerous and seething with intrigue, is entertaining other plans. And other executions - for the death of wealthy merchant Matthew Webb and the killing of an apparent vagrant during a royal procession. Thomas Chaloner, spy for the king's intelligence service, soon realises that two murders point in one direction: upwards, towards the great and supposedly good.
Five years after Charles II's triumphant return there is growing mistrust of his extravagant court - and when a cart laden with gunpowder explodes outside the General Letter Office, it is immediately clear that such an act is more than an expression of outrage at the postal service. As intelligencer to the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Chaloner cannot understand why an incompetent man is put in charge of the investigation while he is diverted to make enquiries about the poisoning of birds in the King's aviary in St James's Park.
After the Puritan ban on Christmas festivities Restoration London is awash with excess between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night, but the two men found in Westminster Hall had not died from a surfeit of gluttony, but from poison. The Lord Chancellor appoints Chaloner as his investigator into the killiings, believing them to be of scant importance to the affairs of state he deals with.
Thomas Chaloner is despatched to investigate the death of a lawyer with links to the "Butcher of Smithfield", a shady trader surrounded by a fearsome gang of thugs who terrorise the streets well beyond the confines of Smithfield market.
"longwinded and boring"
Thomas Chaloner is relieved to be summoned back to London. He will be glad to be home, to be reunited with his new wife, but the trivial reason for his recall exasperates him – the theft of material from the construction site of his master, the Earl of Clarendon's embarrassingly sumptuous new house just north of Piccadilly.
In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy, a delegation from the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace. Thomas Chaloner is horrified at the violent aggression shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but he is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's officials. Then the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, and Chaloner discovers enigmatic clues pointing to a motivation for his murder.
The murder of a man on London Bridge is the first indication that the Earl of Clarendon's fears of a rebellion may be well-founded. His spy, Thomas Chaloner, suspects the assassin may be a member of a group dedicated to seeing the return of Puritanism, and at the same time he learns of a faction determined to bring back the Catholic Church.
Spring, 1663: public London is executing plans to mark the third anniversary of the Restoration. Private London, murky, dangerous, and seething with intrigue, is entertaining other plans. And other executions - such as the death of wealthy merchant Matthew Webb and the killing of an apparent vagrant during a royal procession. Thomas Chaloner, spy for the King's intelligence service, soon realises that both murders point in one direction: upwards, towards the great and supposedly good.