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Publisher's Summary

Oxford, Spring 1353. When young bookseller Nicholas Elyot discovers the body of student William Farringdon floating in the river Cherwell, it looks like a drowning. Soon, however, Nicholas finds evidence of murder. Who could have wanted to kill this promising student? As Nicholas and his scholar friend Jordain try to unravel what lies behind William's death, they learn that he was innocently caught up in a criminal plot. When their investigations begin to involve town, university, and abbey, Nicholas takes a risky gamble - and puts his family in terrible danger.
©2016 Ann Swinfen (P)2017 Ann Swinfen
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Customer Reviews

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By Marcheta on 04-07-17

Held my interest, excellent historical background

This is my kind of book. The story depended on a well-drawn world of a medieval bookseller and his relationship with Oxford instructors and students. I liked the family members, too. The murder mystery unfolded at a reasonable pace and wasn't predictable. The narrator did a great job. I hope audible releases the second book in this series, The Novice's Tale, with the same narrator. I downloaded the first book from audible of Swinfen's Christopher Alvarez series, but I haven't listened to it yet - now I'll definitely give that series a listen.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

By Gail N. on 07-11-17

Inconsistent character development, weak plot

The historical background material is delivered in a very engaging way and greatly enriched the story. The supporting characters were interesting as well. The main character seemed to be well developed, intelligent and held my interest until the last three chapters. Although the plot was rather predictable, the irritating behavior of the main character as the denouement approached was quite a disappointment. The author had a good story line, fine characters, and a wonderful setting and time period. The resolution of the mystery was however a real clunker.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Michelle on 01-19-18

A vivid depiction of the past, with a mystery thrown in

Much fascinating details about life shortly after the Black Death, most of it accurate based on my reading, with an occasional mildly jarring anachronism. The bookseller is likeable & mostly sensible, except when he needs to be stupid to create the necessary plot crisis.

I look forward to seeing how this series develops.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

By April Game on 01-21-18


What would have made The Bookseller's Tale better?

The performance is so wooden it could make even a very engaging and tightly written mystery boring.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The monotone of the narrator killed this book for me.

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Customer Reviews

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By Fiona O'Connell on 07-26-17

A joy to read

A lovely story, well narrated. Ann Swinfen brings 14th Century Oxford to life with very real characters and interesting history of story writing, parchment making and book binding.

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