The Fifth Knight, by E.M. Powell, is a superb novel set in the medieval ages around the time of Henry II and focuses on the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. Thrilling, intriguing, and suspenseful, Powell does a great job allowing the prose to feel authentic in its language to the time period, yet at a pace and with enough modernized text that readers can follow with inquisitive and motivated minds.
Theodosia, a nun and co-protagonist to Sir Benedict Palmer, had me hooked on her story from the beginning. She struggles as any nun might who has to be locked away from world and fights against the temptations even if only within her thoughts. It’s interesting to me to read novels that feature a nun protagonist whose heart and feelings fight against the vows they took to God. I don’t necessarily enjoy seeing them struggle, but I do find it intriguing as they face real human feelings and I enjoy seeing how they overcome to them or if they’ll submit to something, for instance, like love.
Theodosia and Palmer’s twist-filled, mysterious journey won’t feel like the serious, heavy non-fiction paragraphs you read about pertaining to religion, nuns, Knights, and life in 12th Century medieval England (after taking a course on the Middle Ages in college I vowed then and there never to time travel to this period, not matter how much it thrilled me on paper…..haha), as it felt human and real and thrilling!! And really, that’s what historical fiction should incite in a reader….thrills. Page-turning, descriptive detail drooling, and head-scratching stories. Powell delivered to me just that with her mystery, transporting me to a time of everyday heroes who seemingly are fighting for what seems like the weight of the world, without ever missing a step. Powell allowed me to enter the fantasy world of medieval England all while I still enjoyed the comforts of indoor plumbing.
History states that four Knights were responsible for Becket’s death. However, Powell brings another version to life by creating a fifth Knight and telling a new version of the reported incident using her own imagination and fantasy based on historical detail. The ending I won’t giveaway, but it’s surprising. I’ll be curious to know if you figure it out before reading the final pages….
E.M. Powell brought nicely developed characters, mystery, intrigue, thrills, light romantic undertones, and entertaining historical fiction to me for several “reading past my bedtime” nights. I highly recommend this book for readers who love historical fantasy from the middle ages!
Please return on April 24 for my interview with E.M. Powell, as well as a giveaway opportunity!
THE FIFTH KNIGHT, Synopsis~
To escape a lifetime of poverty, mercenary Sir Benedict Palmer agrees to one final, lucrative job: help King Henry II’s knights seize the traitor Archbishop Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. But what begins as a clandestine arrest ends in cold-blooded murder. And when Fitzurse, the knights’ ringleader, kidnaps Theodosia, a beautiful young nun who witnessed the crime, Palmer can sit silently by no longer. For not only is Theodosia’s virtue at stake, so too is the secret she unknowingly carries—a secret he knows Fitzurse will torture out of her. Now Palmer and Theodosia are on the run, strangers from different worlds forced to rely only on each other as they race to uncover the hidden motive behind Becket’s grisly murder—and the shocking truth that could destroy a kingdom.
Author E.M. Powell, Biography~
E. M. Powell was born and raised in Ireland, a descendant of Irish revolutionary Michael Collins. At University College, Cork, she discovered a love of Anglo-Saxon and medieval English during her study of literature and geography. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Manchester Irish Writers, the Historical Novel Society, and International Thriller Writers. A reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, she lives today in Manchester, England, with her husband and daughter.
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