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Hildegard of Meaux Books In Order

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Publication Order of Hildegard of Meaux Medieval Mystery Books

Hangman Blind (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Red Velvet Turnshoe aka The Velvet Turnshoe (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Law of Angels (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Parliament of Spies (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dragon of Handale (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Butcher of Avignon (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Scandal of the Skulls (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ten Weeks That Changed England Forever (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Alchemist of Netley Abbey (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at Meaux (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at Whitby Abbey (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Murder at Beaulieu Abbey (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dark Waters Rising (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

“Hildegard of Meaux” is a series of medieval novels by English author Cassandra Clark. The first novel of the series was “Hangman’s Blind” that Clark first published in 2008 to much critical acclaim. Cassandra who was born in Yorkshire in England and brought up in Beverly, an old medieval market town has always been fascinated by medieval history. Prior to becoming an author she was involved in writing and was a script writer for TV, radio, and a little bit of theater. For her writing, Clark has been an invited guest of Edward Albee and has won the Director’s Guild Award. She quit script writing when her debut novel made it big in 2008, and decided to become a full time author. She now writes historical novels in the “Hildegard of Meaux” series of novels that are set in the 14th century during the reign of Richard II. The series of novel features Hildegard, a nun sleuth who works with Brother Thomas, a young man in solving a range of crimes in medieval England. The series is set in the crumbling monasteries and Gothic landscape of Yorkshire, which are the perfect setting for medieval narratives into England’s past. For Cassandra Clark, writing the novels provides a great opportunity to bring together her interests in history, music, and politics.

Cassandra’s love story with the medieval period began when she was a small child growing up in the Yorkshire country side. It was a scenic village with a church built by King Richard’s father – the Black Prince, that also had a gigantic moat surrounding a castle on the other end. As such, she grew to love the stories of Richard and his father, and does not have to use much imagination to make up the stories that happened in the village, the castle, and the country during their reign. After completing high school she went to the University of East Anglia for her bachelors and master studies. She then went on to teach Human Foundation courses at the Open University, and was an acclaimed specialists in religion, music and history of the medieval period. While she was working she also did a lot of contemporary romances, plays ,and penned several scripts for chamber operas. She has also worked with a variety of installation artists, written for street theater, and managed a medieval coaching inn in New York.

The “Hildegard of Meaux” series features Hildegard a modern seeming woman living in fourteenth century England. She belongs to the Cistercian order of nuns and unlike many of her order she seems perfectly okay with traveling alone in the Yorkshire countryside that was full of all manner of dangers during the 14th century. Despite being a woman, there is no one as prepared to face the bandits of the country who roamed the roads and forests. She carries with her a recently sharpened long bladed hunting knife, a thick stave, hand carved hazel wood and a small cross. While this may not be fool proof, Hildegard is also a voracious fighter who will have no trouble fighting off any robbers or potential rapists. Rapists can be dealt with not only with her weapons, but also by her physical aggressiveness which she can use and has used several times to beat off her assailants.

Hildegard’s story starts when she gets married to a Welsh nobleman and has to take care of his home while he is away on the Kings business. Not long after their marriage, word reaches England that her husband has gone missing in France and is soon declared dead in rather mysterious circumstances. She spends seven years in seclusion at Derwent Crossing, where she was anchoress but now thinks she needs to get on with her life. Her husband had left her quite the fortune and so she decides to set up a convent, where she can tend the sick and teach children. But Hildegard is not your archetypal nun as she does not start a nunnery for religious fervor but rather for more secular reasons. Hildegard believes that by coming together with women of a similar opinion, they can have the influence and power to make great changes. When we are first introduced to her she has two grown up children that do not make much of an appearance in the stories. She loves her independence and can skin and cook a rabbit that her dogs catch just as good as any man, and is proficient in not only the herbs of the physic arts, but does not mind examining corpses even if they come with sticky, congealed blood.

“Hangman Blind” the first novel of the Hildegard of Meaux series is set in 14th century England where Hildegard the Abbess just left her convent to ride out to York. But these are not the best of times as it is a time of a shaky peace, rival popes on the continent, and a boy as king. Traveling alone, Hildegard is on a quest to go to York, where she hopes to secure the future of her nunnery. She gets her first taste of blood and danger when she stumbles upon five corpses and further along a brutally murdered youth. What do the deaths of the five men on the gibbet mean, and how are they connected to the gruesome death of the youth. Hildegard will not let up until she finds out the truth about the deaths no matter how terrible it promises to be. But further along she discovers that even Castle Hutton her childhood home may not be the safe haven she thought it had always been. Hildegard is confronted with dark forces and if she is to protect her country and family, she needs to draw upon all her wisdom and courage.

“The Red Velvet Turnshoes” is set in 1383 France during Black February. This has been one of the wettest years in history with the rainy season starting in Martinmas and battering Tuscany and Flanders for the best part of the year. The floods had destroyed crops and brought famine followed by disease. The Black Death had visited France mowing down people in their thousands in town after town, where open pits were full of dead victims. Paris shuts its gates and spread lime and Florence and Cologne take the cue and do the same. This is the dark world of political turmoil and plague into which Hildegard rides as she goes on a quest to find the Cross of Constantine, considered one of Europe’s most important relics. Even though she is an independent and strong willed woman, she needs all of her skills if she is to make it out alive from such a dangerous quest. But with England her home threatened with chaos, she cannot afford to fail in her mission.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Hildegard of Meaux

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