July, 1100. Jerusalem lies ransacked. Amidst the chaos, an English knight is entrusted with a valuable religious relic: a fragment of the True Cross, allegedly stained with the blood of Christ. The relic is said to be cursed: anyone who touches it will meet an untimely and gruesome end. Several decades later, the Cross turns up in the possession of a dealer, robbed and murdered en route to Glastonbury. Investigating the death, Bernard Knight's protagonist, Crowner John learns of its dark history. In Oxford in 1269, the discovery of a decapitated monk leads Ian Morson's academic sleuth William Falconer to uncover a link to the relic. In 1323, in Exeter, Michael Jecks' Sir Baldwin has reason to suspect its involvement in at least five violent deaths. Thirty years later, several suspicious deaths occur in Cambridge - and, once again, the tainted relic has a crucial part to play. Finally, it's despatched to London, where Philip Gooden's Nick Revill will determine its ultimate fate.
Bernard Knight, a former Home Office pathologist, is the author of the acclaimed Crowner John series. Former police officer Susanna Gregory's novels feature Matthew Bartholomew, a C14th Cambridge physician. Karen Maitland is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling C14th mysteries Company of Liars and The Owl Killers. Philip Gooden writes Shakespearean murder mysteries. Ian Morson is the author of the Oxford-based Falconer series.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (November 17, 2008)