Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

City of Fiends: Michael Jecks

Post Reply
User avatar
Manda Scott
Posts: 81
Joined: July 2010
Location: Shropshire, UK

City of Fiends: Michael Jecks

Post by Manda Scott » Fri July 27th, 2012, 3:40 pm

I was busy signing copies of the latest paperback in an independent bookshop a week or three ago, when a woman came up and asked if I knew Michael Jecks. Happily, I could say that I did, which was just as well because the next 5 minutes were taken up singing his praises...
And well deserved it was. Mike Jecks has been described by no less an authority than Scotland on Sunday as 'A National Treasure'; rather like Andrew Taylor, another excellent writer who bridges the genres of crime and history, has a prodigious output of excellent, well-researched work, an army of fans and a vast number of books under his belt. He's a team player, too:a past Chair of the CWA and currently on the committee of the HWA.
'CITY OF FIENDS' is his thirty second, or perhaps thirty third, and it's the latest in the 'Knights Templar' series featuring Sir Baldwin de Furnshill, Keeper of the Kings' Peace and his bailiff and friend, Simon Puttock.

As with the others in this series, there's a good mix of the historical backdrop and fiction. The contentious 'escape' of Edward II after his abdication and the murder of Bishop Berkeley are the twin columns on which the narrative rests, while the flesh and sinews of the story arise in Exeter where a row between neighbours escalates to a classic whodunnit of murder, mayhem, hidden bodies and even more deeply hidden secrets.

The whole is underpinned with an evident familiarity with the era and an ease with the language of the time which speaks of many, many hours of spent reading contemporary and historical texts, but, that said, Jecks never falls into the trap of hitting us over the head with his research: the book sails on the story and the people, as it should, with the glory of Devon as its backdrop (full disclosure: If I were free to move, I'd be living in Devon within easy reach of Exeter, so I am somewhat biased when it comes to stories set there: but that doesn't stop the book having an excellent sense of place).

The plotting is complex, but sharp and clear and the characters are a good mix of those from previous books, and those new to this story. The twists are well hidden and the tying-up-of-ends pleasantly satisfying while the final paragraph leaves the way open for the next stage in Sir Baldwin's career.
It's a cracking read and apart from his many existing fans, should appeal particularly to readers of CJ Sansom who enjoy the intricacies of medieval law, and to lovers of Robyn Young's Insurrection books, set at roughly the same time north of the Scots border.

Bestselling author of
Boudica: Dreaming. INTO THE FIRE out in June 2015: Forget what you thought you knew, this changes everything.


Post Reply

Return to “By Author's Last Name G-L”