Dark Waters Rising
by Cassandra Clark
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Pub Date 01 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 31 Oct 2022
A storm is coming . . . Can nun sleuth Hildegard solve the murder of a lay sister before the rising flood waters trap her with a cunning killer?
Autumn, 1394. All is not well at Swyne Priory. Dissension has arisen amongst the nuns. The new novices whisper in corners, spreading malicious rumours and sharing dark secrets.
The Prioress gives Hildegard an order: search out the cause of this unrest, and put a stop to it. But before Hildegard can investigate, she's forced to deal with a new problem: the arrival of a mysterious stranger in the middle of the night, claiming his life is in danger.
Hildegard isn't sure whether to believe him, but when a body is discovered near the priory, she's soon plunged into a dark and dangerous puzzle where nothing is as it seems. All she knows for certain is that a storm is coming, threatening to cut the priory off from the outside world and trap them with a killer . . .
Medieval mystery at its finest - and a great pick for readers who love sleuthing monks and nuns like Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma, Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael and Cora Harrison's Reverend Mother.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 12 members
A Perilous Puzzle..
The twelfth Abbess of Meaux mystery finds sleuthing nun Hildegard in the depths of a dangerous and perilous puzzle where absolutely nothing is as it seems. Soon enough, trapped with a killer and floodwaters rising, our intrepid protagonist will be fighting for her life. Another tantalising, colourful and cleverly woven plot with a well crafted cast of characters, a firm sense of time and place and a solid mystery to keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Cassandra Clark’s latest (and apparently last!) Hildegard thriller is gripping from the first page. Hildegard of Meaux is a nun in the Cistercian priory of Swyne in 14th-century Yorkshire. One night a desperate young musician arrives at the nunnery door pleading for refuge. He claims to be fleeing an assassin, but will say nothing to explain who he is or why he is hunted – and his story is doubted. When a young novice nun is then murdered, Hildegard is determined to discover who he is and why the novice was killed. The story is told in a multitude of short chapters, with characters speaking a modern English sprinkled with archaisms (mayhap, perchance, sot-wit). There’s plenty of pleasing detail of the food, fashions and daily life of the time. In the background Cassandra Clark evokes a sinister atmosphere, the fear, deception and intrigue of the medieval world, its convoluted divisions, dangerous politics and the struggle for the English crown. Meanwhile, unprecedented rains are lashing down, and Hildegard’s perilous search for the truth takes place as floodwaters cover the land. A terrific read.
Our favorite detective nun is back. Hildegard has to keep her wits about her for this latest mystery. She has been given the task of finding out why the young novices are so unsettled and why they are spreading rumors. But before she can even find out what is going on a young man arrives at the Priory but Hildegard isn't too sure if she believes his story. Why is he really hiding and who wants him dead?
Everything changes when one of their own is found murdered and no one knows why someone would want to hurt her? Hildegard needs to find out the truth but can she survive this deadly killer as they will stop at nothing to get their way.
Another great read in the series. I love Hildegard as she is so fearless and she will do anything to find out the truth. This is a read full of rich descriptions on life during the 14th century and we get to see through the eyes of the people that lived during that period. I am sad to see that this is the last book in the series.
Thank you Netgalley & the publisher for the ARC copy. This is my voluntary review.
Dark Waters Rising by Cassandra Clark is another excellent addition to the series of brilliant murder mysteries featuring the super-sleuth Hildegard of Meaux.
A sinister and dark tapestry of events unfolds when Hildegard finds herself plunged into a murder investigation, a sudden appearance of a stranger and discord within the Priory. If that is not enough, a storm on the horizon is likely to cut the Priory off from the outside world. Hildegard could be faced with her most challenging task yet.
There is something very atmospheric, almost gothic, about these murder mysteries. The settings give the stories a subtle ambience and set a moody atmosphere. Given the century in which the series is staged, your imagination just pictures that very environment, dark, mysterious and haunting.
There is something about the dialogue that lends a touch of style to the period. It is not all antiquated, but there are some neat words and phrases that give it that old-world charm.
A well-written and researched book that gathers relevant historical details and interlaces them into the narrative.
All the characters in the book are very believable for the historical figures they portray. The main protagonist is an exceptional character, and it has been fascinating to watch her develop as the series progressed.
Dark Waters Rising is an immersive and entertaining book to read. Plenty of mystery, suspense and tension. Gripping, intelligent, and amazingly erudite, the book has everything you want from a historical murder mystery.
I recommend this novel not only to those interested in historical murder mysteries but to a wide range of readers.
Thank you, Severn House and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read the advanced copy of the book.
Fans of historical mysteries should definitely give this one- which make terrific use of the politics and day to day life of the 14th century- a read. Hildegard, a nun, has noticed that the novices in the convent are unsettled and then a young man appears on their doorstep with a wild story. And then one of the young women is murdered. Hildegard, an estimable woman, has an intriguing mystery on her hands and no spoilers as to how she works through the possibilities. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Fine as a standalone and sadly, it appears the last in the series.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review “Dark Waters Rising.” All opinions and comments are my own.
The last Hildegard of Meaux book finds the abbess struggling in more ways than one, first to wiggle out the secrets of a young man who’s seeking refuge amongst the local religious communities and then to solve the various cases of disappearance and then death that are also happening around the abbey of Swyne. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the weather isn’t cooperating; the flooding from the heavy rains may find everything washed away. And what’s the deal with Abbot de Courcy? The spiritual crisis of the man she loves, forbidden as that love is, affects her greatly. There’s a lot going on in “Dark Waters Rising,” definitely.
The first death is a maid, who accompanied a sister who had left on a mission to a nearby abbey. The sister is still missing. She’s feared dead, too. In the meantime, Hildegard is trying to figure out who the young man -- Leonin -- really is and who he’s so afraid of. He finally confesses that “he knows something that the king’s enemies deem dangerous.” Well, this story will consume a great part of the book, involving Hildegarde, her priory, the abbey at Meaux, and especially, the abbot she loves.
And I haven’t even mentioned the two recalcitrant sisters -- twins -- she’s got at her priory. Angry, petulant, they would try the patient of a saint. Their story also contains disappearance and death, and Hildegard must use all her investigative skills to deal with their involvement.
In between all the crises, Hildegard does a lot of reflecting and remembering; as noted, this is the last book in the series. There is her past with the Abbot de Courcy, and how that aspect of her life has shaped her present. The warrior priests Egbert and Gregory have their place in the story. She even gets news of her old guardian, Lord Roger, and his new wife. Hildegard’s life, from before Swyne Priory and to present-day, is tided up for readers.
With the ending, secrets are revealed, a murder is prevented, and Hubert de Courcy and Hildegard of Meaux make decisions about their future. We are also told that the king got his revenge on his enemies, too. At least Hildegard and Hubert should be happier.
I'm sucker for historical mysteries featuring nuns or monks and Hildegard is part of these group of beloved sleuths.
This is a complex and dark story, full of secrets and twists. It's well plotted and gripping, the characters are fleshed out as usual
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
Medieval mystery at it’s best.
1394—the religious sector and the secular world have their problems. As Hildeguard puts forth, a “schism caused by two men claiming to be the true pope is a contagion. And even our own realm is riven in twain. At least two of our barons see themselves as king in place of their young nephew.” And it seems a catastrophic flood is about to engulf the area that includes Swyne Priory, Haltemprice Priory, and the Abbey of Meaux, or so Josiana the mathematically knowledgeable novice has decided. She’s done all her calculations.
Josiana goes to to Haltemprice to return an astrolabe she’s been using. She fails to return and Hildegard cannot find her, nor the serving girl who went with her. The girl will be discovered down in the salt marsh, the saltings, dead.
A stranger turns up during the night looking for sanctuary and succour with wild tales of being pursued by an assassin. At first Hildegard wonders if he’s killed Lydia. His identity is unknown except he claims to be a minstrel for King Richard, and have witnessed something that had him fearing for his life.
Troublesome novices twin sisters, Bella and Rogella, beguile a young priest. One sister and the priest go missing. But which one? What’s going on here?
All throughout the flood waters threaten lives and property.
Add to this, Hubert is stricken by some sort of burden, refusing to see anyone. Hildegard confronts him and is treated coldly as though by a stranger. His men at arms and Hildegard’s are worried.
The Prioress has told Hildegard that she’s considering naming Hildegard her successor. What of the unspoken plans hinted at between Hildegard and Hubert, lord abbot of Meaux, not so long ago?
A wonderful medieval novel replete with intrigue and conflict, including in the ordinary lives of those within the church, still struggling with their humanity.
A Severn House ARC via NetGalley.
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
1394 and the weather around Meaux is wet. Flood waters are encroaching on the arable land and it is predicted to only get worse. Hildegard is tasked with maintaining discipline over some unruly novices but her work is halted when in short succession a stranger arrives claiming to be chased by an assassin and then a member of the workforce from the priory is found murdered. As the weather closes in, can Hildegard get justice.
This appears to the be the final volume in what has been a solid and entertaining series. The research is excellent and generally the plots are strong enough in a crowded genre. I have to admit that the on/off state of Hildegard's 'love life' is somewhat annoying (should she even have one?) but it appears settled here. I did love the idea of the setting being a area that was dangerously flooded, a nice twist.
I have greatly enjoyed over the last few years the dark and compelling world of Cassandra Clark's medieval mysteries set in and around Swyne Priory and featuring Hidelgard of Meaux and a brilliant cast of exquisitely drawn characters.
It's 1394 and while the political shenanigans of the House of Lancaster are threatening the fragile reign of Richard II, rising flood waters and a vicious killer are threatening the peace of the religious community.
A captivating whodunit full of greed, lust and death blessed with intricately realized characters and settings that give it a vivid, almost cinematic quality.
With its dark and violent plot that definitely echoes the harshness of England’s politics at the end of the 14th century, this smart and adrenaline-fueled medieval thriller was a marvellous read from start to finish!
Many thanks to Severn House and Netgalley for this terrific ARC.
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