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…
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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.