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Publisher's Summary

On a bitter winter evening in 1356, Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael arrive in Lincoln - Michael to accept an honour from the cathedral, and Bartholomew to look for the woman he wants to marry. 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...

©2006 Susanna Gregory; (P)2007 W F Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    29
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    6
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    22
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    19
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    4
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    3
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    2

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Wadie
  • Santa Ana, CA, United States
  • 12-22-08

Loved It

This book is jammed with plot twists, well developed characters, and historical details. This time Matthew and Michael are in the city of Lincoln trying to stay alive while the city simmers with violence. Andrew Wincott did a fantastic job with many different voices. I enjoyed this book thoroughly!!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Oddly Stilted

Although I loved the premise of the story and am I big fan of historical mysteries, I found this book very hard to finish. I suspect it was the rather strange, stilted diction and pacing of the narrator, rather than the story, but I found it so off-putting, I really can't be sure.

I strongly recommend you listen to the audio sample provided. See if you can get past the narrator before you buy.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another Great Historical Mystery

I really like Matthew Bartholomew mysteries and think Susanna Gregory is a great writer with the historical training to make the story believable and grounded in historical accuracy.The details of Medieval Life are wonderful. This is not one my my favorite Matthew Bartholomew's as I did not care much for the Lincoln setting prefering the ones set in Cambridge instead. Still it is always great to have another one on AUdible. I do wish they would get the Thomas Chaloners which are available on Audible UK but not in the US. I enjoyed it a great deal and am eagerly awaiting the next Matthew Bartholomew on Audible

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Julie
  • Boise, ID, United States
  • 03-29-12

Atmosphere and personalities

Where does The Tarnished Chalice rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Near the top of my listening list

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The storytelling pulls you in, settles you down, and keeps you turning the pages as the different story lines develop and then began to come together

Which character – as performed by Andrew Wincott – was your favorite?

Brother Michael

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I'm a big fan of Susanna Gregory and my reaction is that I want more of this wonderful series on audio!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Karen
  • Rochester, NY, United States
  • 10-16-11

Disappointed

I was looking forward to this book as I love the genre and the description sounded intriguing. However, the book was long, boring and repetitive. The subplot about Matilde was very unsatisfying to me. The narrator was very good, though, and kept me listening to the bitter end.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

What a slog.

Ugh. I couldn't bear to finish it.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • twigs way
  • 02-12-10

So SLOW!!!

I rarely write reviews but feel driven to warn people away from this awful book. The plot is turgid, the numerous minor characters confusing, and the main characters tedious and predictable. The narration is so slow that I kept checking to make sure I hadn't accidentally set my ipod to 'slow speed'!! It really is like having your teeth pulled. I listened to two thirds of it determined to get my moneys worth but just had to give up - there are only so many 'staged' plot recapitulations one can take - and this has them every 5 minutes - in fact there are more recapitulations than actual plot!!

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Enquiring Mind
  • 04-13-13

Hard one to review objectively

This was a very hard one to review objectively because while the story itself is interesting, in the Audible version it is, in my opinion, spoiled by the narrator. The narrator, Andrew Wincott, has an annoying overly dramatic style which renders the characters unbelieveable and the descriptive scenes forgettable. I've given this 4 stars because it is not fair to penalise Susanna Gregory for the short-comings of the narrator, but because the narrator ruined the audio-book, I cannot give 5 stars. This is a prime example of where a narrator's style can intrude on the story and ruin it. The narrator should be an enhancement, not a distraction.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rebecca
  • 05-04-13

Superficial performance spoiled good yarn

I really like Susanna Gregory's stories: nicely complicated plots, interesting and well-drawn characters, thoroughly convincing historic context. However although I've always preferred the Audible performances read by Gordon Griffin. I've listened to Andrew Wincott reading 'Mark of a Murderer' and it was fine. However, I was really disappointed in his reading of this book; sometimes his interpretation completely changed the sense of the words, characters spoke with heavy overtones of meaning that the text simply did not imply, undue emphasis was given to trivial comments but not enough to significant moments in the plot - it really spoilt it for me. I found myself wondering what he author had really meant, and trying to reinterpret it.

On top of this, it was read painfully slowly at times - bored to the point of dropping off to sleep at times and having to re-listen just to pick up the plot. I was releved to find wasn't the only reader who thought this. Sorry!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • beigehead
  • 08-26-16

intriguing but over-complicated

A convincing and atmospheric description of medieval Lincoln, with two engaging main characters, however the plot was far too complicated to take in in audio book form. it felt like there were over forty characters, lots of sub plots and a dual timeline in which it kept referring back to events in Cambridge years before. I stuck with it and listened to the end, and the resolution was satisfying enough, but the sheer amount of plot stilted the enjoyment.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-14

Very disappointing

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The body count, the ridiculous conclusion, and the wooden performance.

Has The Tarnished Chalice put you off other books in this genre?

Only ones written by the same author.

What didn’t you like about Andrew Wincott’s performance?

Wooden in the extreme! Sententious, slow, over-emphasised in way too many places.

Did The Tarnished Chalice inspire you to do anything?

Only to never listen to anything by the same author or the same reader again!

Any additional comments?

This was the first book I have listened to from Audible that was thoroughly disappointing in almost every aspect. The situation was the only redeeming feature, along with the characters of Matt and to a certain extent Michael. I have wasted a lot of hours hoping that the wooden performance would prove worth struggling through, and gave up on it half an hour before the end when the most ridiculously unlikely person proved to be behind the inordinately unlikely body count.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful