The Paths of the Air

The Paths of the Air by Alys Clare. Unlike the previous book in this series which was quite disappointing, this latest Hawkenlye Abbey mystery is well-worth reading. The forest people and mysticism that were such prominent parts of the previous two books are pushed into the background to make way for a complex medieval tale of knights, Saracens, assassins, treasure, murder and even a bit of romance. It all begins when an ordinary prisoner exchange in Outremer between the Knights Hospitallers and a wealthy Saracen goes horribly wrong. The Saracen prisoner and one of the Hospitallers’ party end up on the run carrying the treasure being offered as ransom. Years later, the trail ends in the English countryside surrounding Hawkenlye Abbey where more than one group of pursuers has tracked their prey.

Sir Josse d’Acquin, local landowner and good friend to the Abbess Helewise, gives refuge to an olive-skinned stranger, only to have him disappear into the night soon after. A murder victim of similar description is found in the nearby forest and when three Knights Hospitallers arrive with the tale from Outremer, Sir Josse is drawn into a perplexing situation that only gets more tangled as he uncovers additional information. As has unfortunately been the case in most of the recent books, Helewise allows Sir Josse to take the lead, but her contributions are vital to the solution of this complicated puzzle.

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