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Cassandra Clark Books In Order

Publication Order of Hildegard of Meaux Medieval Mystery Books

Hangman Blind (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Red Velvet Turnshoe aka The Velvet Turnshoe (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Law of Angels (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Parliament of Spies (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Dragon of Handale (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Butcher of Avignon (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Scandal of the Skulls (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ten Weeks that Changed England Forever (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Alchemist of Netley Abbey (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Murder at Meaux (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Cassandra Clark is a mystery crime and historical fiction author who is best known for the “Abbess of the Meaux” series of novels. Clark has always loved the medieval period so much having grown up as a child in a medieval church, and a castle and moat that had been built by King Richard’s father – the Black Prince. Given that she had grown up in such medieval settings she does not need much to get the inspiration to write about the happenings of ancient times in similar settings. Cassandra got her masters from the University of East Anglia, and was professor of religion, music, philosophy, and history at the Open University. Since then, she has gone on to write contemporary romances and plays in addition to several scripts for chamber operas. She did run a theatre in York and worked on several freelance projects for street theatre groups. She currently writes the Abbess of Meaux historical mystery series set in medieval Europe. As a widely travelled author who has been to Tuscany and France and with interests in history, politics, and music, writing the novels almost comes as second nature to Cassandra.

Cassandra Clark is fascinated about the Middle Ages and loves writing about Hildegard of Meaux who is the lead protagonist of a series of whodunits set in the fifteenth century. Oftentimes she is surprised that she is writing historical crime novels given her background writing contemporary romance and plays. While she writes crime mysteries she always does avoid putting a lot of violence in the narratives given that she believes there is too much violence in the world already and would rather not add to it. The series of novels shadow the reign of Richard II with each novel having some multi layered and different mystery for the lead protagonist to resolve. Given that she is in her early thirties the novels add a year every year of Richard’s reign until he is murdered.

“The Abbess of Meaux” series of novels features Hildegard, a nun sleuth who works to investigate cases alongside Brother Thomas her young sidekick. The series of novels and its adventures are set in medieval England amid the crumbling monasteries and Gothic landscape of Yorkshire. Hildegard the lead is more of a modern figure that lives in medieval settings. She is a Cistercian nun that lives in dangerous times even though she is happy to travel across the Yorkshire country all alone. There is nothing she loves better than to ride out into the 14th century country side full of robbers, thieves, and killers. She had a long hunting knife that had recently been sharpened, a hand carved hazel-wood cross, and a stave thicker than any bowman’s wrist which gave her sufficient preparation to face the lawless bandits that scoured the forests of England. Hildegard is not only carrying these or show as she uses them whenever she has to protect herself from potential rapists and robbers.

Hildegard was born and raised in North Yorkshire at Castle Hutton, where her father served the Earl de Hutton as a knight. As such, she did play with the Earl’s children as a child and considered the earl’s eldest children Lord Roger something of an elder brother. She had also played with other children in the castle such as the Earl’s Chief Forester’s son Ulf, that had been instrumental in teaching her how to hunt game with a knife and how to shoot straight. She had gotten engaged when she was fourteen and got married at fifteen. She got married to Hugh, the son of a nobleman of Welsh Marches. She had gone to live with him in his fortress and often had to take care of the household alone while he went to war as was expected of wives in those days. Hildegard had two children, a son and a daughter by the time she was eighteen, but then disaster strikes when her husband goes missing on a campaign in France and is soon confirmed dead. She comes out of seven year seclusion and decides to set up her own convent with the fortune that her husband had left to her. But she is not the conventional nun as she is not driven by religious zeal but rather by a belief that women can create change by joining forces with other women of a similar mind. Her children do not make an appearance in the narratives as she is more about self-sufficiency and independence.

“Hangman Blind” the first novel of the series is set in the month of the dead November of 1382. Abbess Hildegard the Abbey of Meaux rides out from her hometown of York at one of the most tumultuous of times. It is a time of a boy king on the throne, rival popes, and a precarious peace that followed the murder of Wat Tyler in the 100 years war. Hildegard is looking to secure the future of her own priory by embarking on one of the most perilous missions of her life but has no qualms about the danger of her quest. As a lone traveler, she encounters all manners of danger and the evidence of just how dangerous it can be is when she stumbles on a brutally murdered youth and five bloodied corpses on a gibbet. Just how are the five men and the boy connected? and what were was the meaning of their brutal deaths? She decides that she has to find out the truth and will go to any lengths even if it may put her own life in danger. But when she gets too deep into it, she soon finds that not even Castle Hutton her childhood home can protect anyone from murder. She needs to summon all the wisdom and courage in her bones to protect her country, her family and friends.

“The Red Velvet Turnshoe” is set in 1383, in Black February. Rain has been falling in Tuscany, Flanders, and France, and has been relenting for the most part of the year. The floods have resulted in famine which have in turn caused disease. The Black Death had also made a resurgence moving from town to town where huge open pits were now filled with corpses. Florence shut its gates and Cologne and Paris followed suit and spread lime. In the midst of these perilous times full of political turmoil and plague terrorizing city and country side, Abbess Hildegard goes on a quest to find the Cross of Constantine, a precious relic lost for centuries. She is an independent and strong willed woman, but will have to employ all the skills she had learned throughout her life if she is to survive the dangerous quest. With the English crown in peril, there are many persons who would be glad if her mission were a failure. But there is one who she needs to be wary of – a man planning a deadly revenge.

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