Jerusalem has fallen to the Crusader armies, the Holy City lies ransacked. Amid 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 as soon as it leaves his possession.
Thus begins a series of intriguing interlocking mysteries by Britain’s best-known medieval crime writers. A decapitated monk. A savage impaling. A mysterious talking raven. At the heart of it all lies the lethal influence of the evil relic…
The Tainted Relic is also available as an audio CD, read by Stephen Thorne. It can be ordered from either Amazon.co.uk or Whole Story Audiobooks.
Prologue: In which Simon Beaufort begins the tale with Sir Geoffrey Mappestone in July 1100, and describes how the relic leaves the Holy Land and arrives in England.
Act One: In which Bernard Knight tells how, several decades later, the Cross turns up in the possession of a dealer, robbed and murdered en route to Glastonbury. Investigating the death, Crowner John, learns of its dark history.
Act Two: In which, 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.
Act Three: In which Michael Jecks’ Sir Baldwin, in Exeter in 1323, has reason to suspect the relic’s involvement in at least five violent deaths.
Act Four: In which Susanna Gregory continues the story thirty years later, when several suspicious deaths occur in Cambridge, leading Matthew Bartholomew to investigate. Once again, the tainted relic has a crucial part to play.
Act Five: In which Philip Gooden tells of the relic being dispatched to London, where Nick Revill will determine its ultimate fate.
Epilogue: In which Bernard Knight brings the relic to twenty-first century Greenwich.