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Reviews

"Anyone who hasn't read Priscilla Royal's mysteries yet is in for a treat. She paints the 13th century in bold, convincing colors and portrays its people with style, suspense and wit."

—Sharon Kay Penman



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Praise for Tyrant of the Mind
"Think of 'Gosford Park' with no central heating and you'll get some idea of what's going on in this very interesting historical re-creation."

—Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

Tyrant of the Mind

February 2005: Tyrant of the Mind was one of five nominees for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award given at Left Coast Crime Conference in 2005 in El Paso, Texas.

"The chill that pervades Royal's second medieval historical (after 2003's Wine of Violence) stems not just from the bitter winter besetting the Welsh border castle of Wynethorpe but also from the murderous tensions that afflict its occupants. The illness of Richard, grandson of Baron Adam of Wynethorpe, has brought home the boy's aunt, Eleanor, prioress of Tyndal, as well as her companions, Sister Anne, a nun skilled in medicine, and Brother Thomas, a handsome and unwilling monk.

Jealousy, lust, fear and treachery lead to murder, perhaps committed by Eleanor's brother, Robert, who's found standing with a bloody knife over the freshly slain victim. It's up to Eleanor and her oddly matched companions to prove Robert's innocence before medieval justice delivers its swift and violent verdict. The author carefully renders the hardships of surviving the harsh winters without obscuring the small pleasures that people of the period enjoyed. Eleanor, forceful or diplomatic by turns, is an engaging and resourceful heroine, and Brother Thomas shows surprising depths and strengths. Royal brings her 13th-century world vividly and artfully to life in a series sure to have a bright future."

Publishers Weekly


Priscilla Royal returns with another carefully nuanced and beautifully researched story. Prioress Eleanor, Sister Anne and Brother Thomas are wonderfully drawn and fully realized characters. With Tyrant of the Mind, Priscilla Royal takes her place as one of the masters of the genre. Highly recommended.

Sheldon Siegel


Hidden personal traumas reveal themselves against the grim backdrop of a border castle in unstable times. This realistic medieval fare will appeal to devotees of Ellis Peters's Brother Cadfael series.
Library Journal


This is Priscilla Royal's second murder mystery set in the 13th century - and it's a true delight. Royal continues with the characters she introduced in 'Wine of Violence' (2003) - the gutsy young prioress of Tyndal Abbey, Eleanor, and her companions, Sister Anne, a nun skilled in medicine, and Brother Thomas, an unwilling monk and and unseemingly handsome (for a monk) man with a complex past - more about which we'll undoubtedly learn in later volumes. The first installment was set in Tyndal, but in Tyrant of the Mind, Eleanor, Sister Anne and Brother Thomas have traveled to Eleanor's family seat on the borders of Wales where her nephew is very sick. Before long the bodies start falling, almost as thick and fast as the snow on the ground (which prevents anyone calling for the local sheriff - thus setting the scene for a classic country house murder mystery, albeit set in a very drafty 13th century castle). The joy of Royal's books is the way in which she brings the 13th century to life, illustrating the hardships and pleasures of life for real people of the period. Royal's Author's Note at the end of the book is also well worth reading for the background information she provides on the period. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that some of her references might give away elements of the plot I'd recommend you read it first.

Davina - BookBrowse



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