Penman, Sharon Kay: Dragon's Lair
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It's 1993, and Eleanor of Aquitane is feverishly collecting ransom to free her son, Richard the Lionheart, from German captivity. When a cart carrying some of the ransom is attacked in Wales, and the ransom--some of which was to be paid in wool--is either stolen or destroyed, Eleanor sends her man Justin de Quincy out to investigate. Justin duly sets out to Wales (leaving his pregnant girlfriend behind in a nunnery), runs into some friends from childhood, and gets caught up in a quarrel between a Welsh Lord and his rebellious nephew--the guy who everybody thinks made off with the ransom.
Dragon's Lair is the third installment in Sharon Kay Penman's series of medieval mysteries featuring Justin de Quincy. I read the first two books in the series, The Queen's Man and Cruel as the Grave, eons ago, in the dark, pre-blog era of my life (specifically, in 1998 and 1999). In the same period I very much enjoyed a number Penman's other historical novels (The Sunne in Splendour, Time and Chance, etc.). The Justin de Quincy books leaves me less enthralled. Dragon's Lair is competently written. I can't complain about the plot or the language. But unfortunately there was no time when reading the book that I was hooked by it. I could have put it down at any point in the story and not cared what became of the characters. So for me the book lacked that magic spark, whatever it is, that some of Penman's other books have had.