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Domesday Books In Order

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Publication Order of Domesday Books

The Wolves of Savernake (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ravens of Blackwater (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dragons of Archenfield (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lions of the North (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Serpents Of Harbledown (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stallions of Woodstock (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hawks of Delamere (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wildcats of Exeter (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Foxes of Warwick (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Owls of Gloucester (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Elephants of Norwich (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon

Domesday is a series of historical mystery novels set in England during the reign of William the Conqueror. The books follow the exploits of two figures that are tasked with looking into the irregularities that surround the compilation of the Domesday Book.

Their work compels them to traverse England. Along the way, they encounter murder and mayhem.

+The Story

After William the Conqueror became King, he tasked his officials with taking a survey of his lands and people. The idea was to assess the holdings of the Kingdom with the intention of determining future tax rates.

The record of this survey eventually became the Domesday book and it caused all manner of controversy as William’s subjects fought to maneuver their assets in a manner that would earn them the most favorable tax rates.

Written by Edward Marston, the Domesday series is set during these tumultuous times.
‘The Wolves of Savernake’, the first novel in the series, introduces readers to Ralph Delchard and Gervase Bret.

A knight and a lawyer, Ralph and Bret are tasked with traversing the Kingdom and investigating the irregularities dogging the compilation of the Domesday book. ‘The Wolves of Savernake’ finds the pair setting out for the small town of Bedwyn to investigate a land dispute.

A Royal Tribunal from the King already visited Bedwyn but a letter from the town’s miller compelled the powers that be to send another tribunal. But by the time Ralph, Bret and their companions Canon Hubert and Brother Simon get to Bedwyn, the town’s miller has died.

Neither Ralph nor Bret believes the report of a killer wolf. So they set about unraveling the secrets of Bedwyn and bring the true killer to justice.

The Domesday series is categorized as historical mystery, and for good reason. Ralph and Bret basically solve mysteries. As officers of the King, they are tasked with resolving disputes related to property and taxes.

William the Conqueror’s England is rife with crime and injustice. In those days, the rich routinely amassed wealth at the expense of the poor and they would often utilize shady practices that buried their communities in poverty in an effort to hide their fortunes.

In this Edward Marston series, it falls on the shoulders of Ralph and Bret to get to the bottom of such situations. Wherever they go, the pair is assaulted by peasants who look to them for a chance to right wrongs.

More often than not, fraudulent injustices and quarrels over property devolve into violence and murder. That puts Ralph and Bret in the difficult position of balancing their mission from the King with a desire to catch thieves, murderers and scoundrels.

The pair must contend with religious and superstitious fanaticism, and that isn’t even taking into account the tribal tensions that are rife in the land. Ralph and Bret succeed more often than not despite the fact that they are so different.

Gervase Bret, the lawyer, is a gentle soul with Saxon and Breton Parentage. He knows the rules and he attempts to follow them to the letter, this including remaining chaste during the period of his betrothal to Alys.

Ralph is his exact opposite. A Norman Soldier that fought at the Battle of Hastings, Ralph is a man that embraces his lusty appetites. Despite his boisterous nature, the Knight is deeply troubled by the savagery he meted out alongside his fellow knights in the battles King William fought to conquer England.

Their opposite personalities and attitudes often drive Ralph and Bret to clash. However, beneath the heated arguments and debates is a grudging respect. Ralph and Bret are friends who genuinely like one another.

Ralph and Bret are accompanied on their many trips by Brother Simon –who is afraid of women—and Canon Hubert whose ego and piety make him the most annoying member of their party.

The mysteries Ralph and Bret encounter are adapted from actual historical events drawn from the Domesday Book. Edward Marston provides a blend of fact and fiction as he weaves his team of protagonists in and out of history.

The world Marston paints is cold. England during William the Conqueror’s reign was a cold and harsh place. Women lived difficult lives that they had little to no control over.

And treachery was rife. People simply couldn’t be trusted because everyone had a national or tribal cause that informed their decisions.

+The Author

Edward Marston is a pen name used by Keith Miles, an author that writes historical novels. Marston was born in 1940 in South Wales. A former student of Oxford University where he got his Modern History degree, Marston was a lecturer before giving it all up to write full-time.

Marston started out writing for television and radio. He only started producing literary fiction in the 1980s during which he dabbled in mystery.

+The Wolves of Savernake

It is 1086. William the Conqueror rules England. The mighty King has decided to take a survey of the people and resources in his land, the goal being to decide how the tax rates will change.

To achieve his objective, the King has deployed census takers to all the corners of the Kingdom. These royal agents are not always well-received. Some hate their intrusion. However, others receive them with open arms, certain that these officials of the crown will bring some much-needed justice to the landscape

Ralph Delchard is a soldier. Gervase Bret is a lawyer. The pair is sent to the small town of Bedwyn to investigate some questionable claims. Ralph and Bret and their companions arrive too late, learning that the man whose claims brought them to the town has been killed.

People are quick to blame a savage wolf for the murder but Ralph and Bret are not so certain they believe the superstitious talk.

+The Ravens of Blackwater

At a time during William the Conqueror’s reign when royal tribunals where sent to all the corners of the kingdom to assess taxes and survey landholdings, Ralph and Bret are royal agents that have been deployed to the small village of Maldon.

Hamo Fitzcorbucion and his family control Maldon. Hamo is a bully that has spent years using the shadiest of means to amass great wealth. Ralph and Bret come to Maldon in the wake Guy’s murder. Guy was Hamo’s son and now he is determined to attain retribution no matter the cost.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Domesday

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