Publishers Weekly has given Owen Archer 14, A Fox in the Fold a starred review!
In Robb’s excellent 14th Owen Archer mystery featuring Capt. Owen Archer (after 2021’s The Riverwoman’s Dragon), Archer, an experienced soldier and a devoted family man, seeks to keep order in 14th-century York. The first sign that a new danger has come to York is the discovery of a dead man just outside the city gates, naked and covered with stab wounds. When Archer learns the murdered man was one of a party coming from far away Winchester to deliver special stones to a Benedictine convent, he suspects there are some serious agendas at work. One of the men Archer must now contend with is William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, who’s been “a catalyst for death in the city.” But even worse, other newcomers to York include an enemy from Archer’s past, from a time long before he became captain of the bailiffs. What makes this entry a standout are the supporting characters, all of them carefully nuanced, and the emotions boiling up in Archer, who must fight to protect his wife and children as they become targets of violence. This is a mystery with both high stakes and a layer of true feeling. Robb reinforces her place among the top writers of medieval historicals.
October, 1376. Owen Archer is summoned by sheriff Sir Ralph Hastings regarding a stripped and bloodied body discovered on the road north to York. Could it be connected to an attack on a carter and his labourers who were transporting stone destined for St Clement’s Priory? The carter fled, but his men stayed to fight and are now missing. Is the victim one of them?
At first Owen believes the catalyst for murder and menace in York is the arrival of the political pariah William Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester. But he soon suspects that a formidable and skillful adversary from his past has arrived in the city, thrusting him and his family into grave danger, and his investigation becomes a race to uncover the truth before his old nemesis destroys all he holds dear.
Publication dates for hardcover and ebook 4 October 2022 worldwide (English language)
Please preorder! And while you’re waiting, start with the previous book, The Riverwoman’s Dragon,
May, 1375. Owen Archer returns from London to find York in chaos. While the citizens are living in terror of the pestilence which is spreading throughout the land, a new physician has arrived, whipping up fear and suspicion against traditional healers and midwives. With the backing of the new archbishop, he is especially hostile towards Magda Digby, the wise woman who has helped and healed the people of York for many years. At the same time, Magda is uneasy about the arrival of two long-lost kinsfolk. Though they say they are seeking her help, she senses a hidden agenda.
Magda’s troubles deepen when she discovers a body in the river near her home – and finds herself under suspicion of murder. Days later, fire rips through a warehouse in the city. Amongst the charred debris lies the body of a man – not burned, but stabbed in the back. Could there be a connection to the corpse in the river?
Determined to prove Magda’s innocence, Owen sets out to find answers amidst violent outbursts within and without the city walls– but the more he uncovers, the deeper the mystery becomes …
Or begin at the beginning with The Apothecary Rose