The woman to the right is good - I mean really, really good. Candace Robb
A number of years ago I fell in love with Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael series. I had never been a big mystery reader, but she combined mystery with medieval history and interesting characters - and I was hooked. With her passing, the series of course is complete. I kept spending time in the small North Asheville library, looking for something else in that genre. I unfortunately tried a few very poor imitators (please, please - ignore the Dame Fresise series for your own health).
Then I stumbled across The Apothecary Rose - the first in the Owen Archer series. I still think that initial book is the best in the series. It follows a 14th century Welsh archer who becomes a spy. I felt like I lived during those times, and wished I knew Owen and Lucie and Magda. Old cities came alive from the page. The mysteries were intriguing. I ached with the characters, and felt their joy and pain.
Robb then started a new series (and she is supposedly not done with Owen, thank goodness). I found the first book in the Dame Margaret Kerr series a few years ago on a close-out table at Barnes and Noble - A Trust Betrayed. A 19 year old woman from Perth, Scotland in the 13th century - seemingly abandanoned by her husband during the time of war with England - goes to Edinburgh in hopes of finding him and discovering who has murdered his cousin. I finished the book and was hooked. I kept checking the website and bookstores, waiting for the next in the series. I finally clued in recently - even though the next two are not published in the States (yet) - Amazon can get anything. I had them airmailed from England.
The Fire in the Flint and A Cruel Courtship are great. Robb is doing her best writing ever. I can barely take in the details of the page because I am dying to find out what will happen next. Scotland of yesteryear comes alive so incredibly. The characters are so real. The history of that time finally makes some sense. I have no idea when the next book in the series will come out. In this series Robb is dealing with some new issues - the ancient Scottish belief in the Sight - women who have vision or foretelling. She presents the spiritual dimension with the practical quite well. The stories are compelling and rich.
Candace Robb is good - really, really good. Take your mouse and head straight to her website (link in first line of this entry) and then head straight to Amazon. Then let me know what you think!