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The Lady Agnès Mystery vol 2:
Book 3. The Divine Blood
Book 4. Combat of Shadows

 

Lady Agnes vol 2

Author: Andrea Japp
Translator: Lorenza García and Katherine Gregor
Publisher: Gallic Books
US Release date: Jan 12, 2016
The series La dame sans terre
was first released in French in 2006-2007
Pages: 624
ISBN: 9781910477175
also available as ebook
Genre: Historical Mystery

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     MY THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS BOOK

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I presented to you the first volume of The Lady Agnès Mystery in my November review. Here is now volume 2, comprised of Books 3 and 4. If I thought Book 1 felt more like a historical novel than a mystery, this one will keep you on the edge of your seat, and your patience at reading over 1,200 pages (total of the 2 volumes) will be well rewarded!

Be sure to go back to my review of Book 1 to learn more about the characters and places.

Book 3 is set almost entirely in December 1304, so taking up the story where it stopped at end of Book 2, just after Agnès is released from the Inquisition prison.
The future is not bright however, as some brilliant and evil minds, those are the most dangerous, get together to trap Agnès one way or another. We know she’s at the center of a very important quest involving a fierce battle between good and evil, the details of which will be gradually revealed, and more characters will join the fight around her, whether for or against her. And it’s not always easy to dissociate them,

Abbess Éleusie finally reveals the existence of the secret library, and what it contains, to a nun she feels she can trust. But evil gets closer to the abbey, under cover of goodness.
As for Leone and Clément, they collaborate more closely to try to gather information necessary to win.
At the end of Book 3, Clément has to make a dramatic decision.

Only fools are fearless. Courage consists in conquering our fears.
page 192

Book 4 is set the following year, between July and November. Things gets tough, as evil gets unmasked for the final struggle, desperately using any possible means to kill and overcome.

In these last 2 books, I enjoyed the inner drama around the main characters, including the pathetic figure of the pope’s secretary, slowly caught in the web of his owns schemes, possibly for good reasons, originally.
Agnès and Clément are very strong characters, ready to sacrifice for justice and the right cause.

As for the mysterious quest, it is based on a rather unique interpretation of the Second Coming of Christ that may sound really weird for twenty-first century Christians, but it was not an unusual belief in the fourteenth century. Along these lines, it was fun to find indirect references to the enigmatic Voynich manuscript.

Suspense? you have plenty of that with all kinds of poisons and shadowy figures…
The historical dimension is still very much developed, with all the schemes around papal elections for instance.

At the end of the volume can be found Historical References, a Glossary and Notes.
I wanted to mention a historical inaccuracy in the Glossary. Talking about the Liturgical Hours, they say the offices of the day were reduced in the 11th century. This is not true, at least for the Cistercians: Prime was suppressed only at Vatican II, mid 20th century. In the US today, some monasteries tend now to combine Sext and None, more rarely so in Europe. But in the US, on Sundays and Solemnities, even Sext and None are still celebrated separately today. I hate when these types of prayer life are talked about as if it were a thing of the past, when thousands of cloistered monks and nuns still practice them today.
As for the translation, I noticed some strange things from time to time. For instance, why not give English titles to all the popes mentioned? And why keep the French Saint Benoît instead of Saint Benedict? The Rule of Saint Benedict is the common way to mention this document in English speaking countries. Also the “sous-prieure” ended up into an “under-prioress” instead of a sub-prioress. Weird, even Google translate gets it right. But I guess if you don’t know French and are not familiar with the religious jargon, it won’t bother you, and it’s really minimal.

EN DEUX MOTS :

Après les 600 pages du premier volume, les choses s’éclaircissent peu à peu quant à cette quête mystérieuse. Et le combat s’intensifie d’autant plus entre les puissances du bien et des ténèbres. Suspense assuré, sur excellent fond historique.

VERDICT: Suspenseful saga set in France in the 14th century, at the time of the dreadful Inquisition. Rich in historical details and ripe with secrets powerful enough to kill or to die for, it focuses on a quest and a unique woman.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

Part two of the story of Agnès de Souarcy, a tale of intrigue set in medieval France.
Agnès de Souarcy has survived the medieval Inquisition, but remains the focus of an ancient quest. Her protectors must battle with the powerful enemies of the quest who will stop at nothing to see it fail.
‘Five women, in the center the sixth’ are the enigmatic words foretelling Agnes’s destiny. But will she fulfill the role that has been prophesied?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrea Japp

© Philippe Matsas/Opale

 

Andrea Japp
is one of the grandes dames of French crime writing
with over thirty novels published.
She is a forensic scientist by profession
and weaves this knowledge into her books,
giving them particular authenticity.
She is the French translator of Patricia Cornwell.

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In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

This book counted for 2015 Reading Challenges

                 



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