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A Mortal Bane

A Mortal Bane Roberta Gellis acclaimed author of The Roselynde Chronicles brings medieval London to life and death with her latest tale of splendor and squalor Magdalene la Batarde is the madam of the Old Priory

  • Title: A Mortal Bane
  • Author: Roberta Gellis
  • ISBN: 9780812572360
  • Page: 460
  • Format: Paperback
  • Roberta Gellis, acclaimed author of The Roselynde Chronicles, brings medieval London to life and death with her latest tale of splendor and squalor Magdalene la Batarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark She and her women are expected to engage in a number of sinful delights, but bloody murder isn t one of them until Baldassare, the messenger, dies.ThRoberta Gellis, acclaimed author of The Roselynde Chronicles, brings medieval London to life and death with her latest tale of splendor and squalor Magdalene la Batarde is the madam of the Old Priory Guesthouse in Southwark She and her women are expected to engage in a number of sinful delights, but bloody murder isn t one of them until Baldassare, the messenger, dies.Though Baldassare wasn t a regular client of the Old Priory Guesthouse, Magdalene and her women refuse to allow his death to go unavenged Of course, their efforts aren t completely altruistic Chances are if they don t find the killer, they will be assumed guilty because they are whores, and they will be gutted and hanged.Into this sea of intrigue steps the handsome Sir Bellamy of Itchen The bishop of Winchester, who was served for many years by Baldassare, orders Bellamy, his most trusted knight, to investigate the murder and tells him that Magdalene has been accused of the crime Bellamy is instantly captivated by his chief suspect but is also convinced that she is hiding something Sure that she is involved in the messenger s death right up to her beautiful eyebrows but unable to believe she s a killer, Bellamy must find out how and why Baldassare died or watch the mysterious Magdalene meet her fate on the gallows.

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      Published :2018-08-27T03:30:34+00:00

    1 thought on “A Mortal Bane

    1. I had very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I thought it was a marvelous mystery plot, well designed and captivating to the end. The romantic element between Magdalene La Batarde and Sir Bellamy was good, and generally the historical setting in 1139 London with the political intrigues of church and king thrown in seemed fairly believable. On the other hand, I was put off by the central idea that the main character was the madam of a brothel, unrealistically housed in a building liter [...]

    2. The only other book I've read by Roberta Gellis is 'Alinor' which I would have given 4.5 stars to if I had bothered to put it in my library. This book wasn't as good. I still liked it but it didn't pull me along with its own momentum. Roberta Gellis is very good at painting a picture of life in the medieval world. Unfortunately, I was not entralled with all the church/political intrigue and had a hard time keeping track of all the bishops, archbishops and other men in positions of power. Once a [...]

    3. As you probably already know I am one of those people who thinks Roberta Gellis cannot write a bad book, some less good yes but never a bad one. I am glad to report then that I really loved reading A Mortal Bane and it definetely joins the group of her good books.It is a medieval murder mystery set in a whorehouse located in an old priory that the Bishop of London has let to Magdalene La Batarde. Magdalene was once a whore herself but now she just controls the business, checks that everything is [...]

    4. This was one of the library's giveaways, so as I tend to enjoy mysteries and medieval history, I gave it a try.Overall, I found it readable but nothing special. I enjoyed the choice of a high-class brothel as setting, though I was decidedly skeptical of the disabilities (one blind, one mute, one simple whore, plus a deaf maid). The bit of romance between the madam and the bishop's detective-knight was certainly formulaic--mildly cute but not interesting--and I had trouble keeping track of the va [...]

    5. If I had any notion that working/being in a whorehouse was romantic or could be, this book might have elicited some positive thoughts on it. Alas, I have never thought this and could not get past how ridiculous the story was. But finished it because I hate to leave it undone.

    6. A good three, this, or a 3.5, though for the first few chapters the writer seems to be obsessed with hair. A nice change from the usual mediaeval monks and nuns whodunnits (some of which are splendidly done, but some of which are a little overdone), though not too far from them, either. The concept of a high-class whorehouse with liberated feminine minds in charge is perhaps a little familiar, too, but this is well-handled and enjoyable, and as it’s the first of a series I’d also say it’s [...]

    7. I enjoyed this and probably for all the wrong reasons since I don't think I was supposed to find what I thought was funny as, well, funny. I just couldn't stop cracking up about hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil (and think no evil) as whores. The characters were a bit too cartoonish for me BUT the mystery itself was very well done, very well done indeed. This was a great light bit of fun for a long commute and gadzooks methinks I may listen to #2!

    8. As the book started, I was really unsure that I was going to like it. It had a tone that just felt very cliche romance novel-y.But it got much better quickly, and ended up being very interesting and believable enough (mysteries just have to be believable ENOUGH). The motivations felt right, and I think that's one of the hardest things to do right in fiction. Enjoyed.

    9. Roberta Gellis is right up there with Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter in terms of writing a believable middle ages: her characters are sympathetic but not ahistorical and there are a million tiny details which make the setting feel lived-in and real. Romance, which Gellis usually writes, can be a very constricting genre - medieval marriages were almost never made for love, and historical romance readers have very clear expectations of what they want to be reading, whether or not that matches how thi [...]

    10. A papal messenger is murdered on the porch of a London monastery in the spring of 1139. Next door, the residents of a high end brothel find themselves the chief suspects. Madeleine La Batarde, the madam of the house, joins forces with the bishop's investigator to find the killer and the missing pouch of papers being brought to the king by the messenger. The matter is crucial to the bishop because he believes that among the papers in the pouch was his appointment as papal legate. It is important [...]

    11. Authors of historical mysteries always have a problem with giving agency to female characters in a historically believable way. As the manager of a brothel, Magdalene la Batarde is a plausibly independent woman, but she still needs the protection of powerful men. When a papal messenger is killed almost on her doorstep, Magdalene must investigate to protect herself. The setting is 12th century England right before the brutal civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda (see “Siege Win [...]

    12. Roberta Gellis is one of the few skilled authors of stories set in medieval English who truly understands both the political & social history of that turbulent era and her books are worth reading for that at the least. She writes extremely well, her dialog flows quite naturally & her characters behave for the most part precisely as they ought - there is very little 'modern creep' into those whom she creates and she is rightfully compared to Ellis Peters in that regard. She also mixes rea [...]

    13. Does anyone else find it odd that a "whore"leader solved the murder in the end? You have these "detectives" and other random people looking into the murder, and here is this dignified adult pleaser who just knows everything. Maybe she was in on it. lol.My husband picked this book for me. When we go to the library together, he grabs books at random (that have a church role even though he's atheist - how ironic) - and I have to read them. This one turned out to be not bad.I found the escorts story [...]

    14. Magdalene la Bâtarde is a whoremistress in London. Although prostitution is not illegal in 12th century England, she and her women have been excommunicated from the Church. Renting the Old Priory Guesthouse from the Church, she has a powerful protector in Sir William of Ypres and the Bishop. That protection, however, can only go so far. When a papal messenger is murdered on the church steps, Magdalene and her women are accused of the murder. If convicted, they will be gutted and hung. Magdalene [...]

    15. An Extremely Unique Mystery This book was not exactly a fun read. But the author did such an amazing job of introducing the reader to a specific place and time that it was fascinating. And she told it not from the perspective of a celebrity of the time - a king, a duchess or a famous knight, but from the perspective of one of the least discussed types of person who existed at that time - a prostitute. It was a time when a prostitute evidently had a more institutional, integral and accepted role [...]

    16. I love almost all of the Roberta Gellis books I have read. In this one she meets my expectations once more by blending interesting characters, a historical setting (1139 England)with just enough historic detail to keep one interested without feeling like one is getting a history lecture and a very enjoyable plot.The main character is a noble born lady running a select whore house, a murder nearby sends her carefully tended establishment into a spin and she draws upon contacts in the church to he [...]

    17. I enjoy whodunits, especially those with strong female protagonists. However, it seems to me that the "virtuous madam" is a bit of a cliché. Here Magdalene is educated, influential, and compassionate, providing employment for women who would be scorned by others for their disabilities. She plies her trade in the shadow of a monastery with the permission of the prior and the bishop. A bit of a stretch! I was bothered by two things: Magdalene's protector, Sir William is crude and rough with her. [...]

    18. I was in the mood for a good, realistic medieval novel with a splash of romance, and this totally fit the ticket. The only thing I found a little far fetched was the whole concept of Magdalene's house (how were the ladies not pregnant 10x over? Maybe if there had been more ladies working there or some mention of how they dealt with disease/accidental pregnancies, it would have been more believable) but I enjoyed everything else- strong heroine, well researched historical backdrop, intricate poli [...]

    19. Aux aurores de la guerre civile du XIIe siècle, soit à la même époque que le frère Cadfael d'Ellis Peters (c.1140) mais avec davantage de détails, cette série est une heureuse découverte, haute en couleur, qui rejoint les enquêtes de Hugh Corbett (vers 1300) et de frères Athelstan (fin XIVe). L'héroïne est une tenancière d'une maison close de luxe sur la rive sud de Londres. Dans ce premier opus, Magdalaine doit faire face à un meurtre commis dans le prieuré voisin mais menace l'e [...]

    20. Okay, where was the glossary?Terms like Vespers, Compline, Matins, and Prime are not familiar to today's readers and need an explanation. Especially so since they were used to place characters at various locations at various times.This was an interesting plot, with a lot of historic information and descriptions of the hard life and times. However, it was a bit repetitive whenever she reported her version of the victim's actions the night of his murder.I really would have appreciated a map and a [...]

    21. I really enjoyed A Mortal Bane. I liked the era it was set in; I don't think I've ever read a book set in the 12th century. I thought the characters and the setting were fascinating. The mystery was interesting, too. Magdalena and her women were interesting and strong. Looking at these characters from the 21st century, I was impressed with how the female characters worked within the confines and constraints of the 12th century. I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

    22. Mystery historical about prostitutes. Not as charming as some of her other books, I think the Rosalynde books and the early Greek fantasy are my favourites. But quite a gritty-feeling depiction of medieval life and religion, for her. I didn't know whores were excommunicate.Lots of good oldfashioned words for sex. Futtering. I like that. But I didn't quite buy the House of Handicapped Whores. Needs more backstory.

    23. This series is set in England in the 1100s, and the main character is the madam of a higher-grade brothel. Despite the setting, this book was not sexual in nature at all. Instead, the madam is involved in solving mysteries.The plotline was interesting, but it was way too much talk and not enough plot movement. Something would happen, and then you read two more scenes of one character telling another a recap of the thing that happened. Redundant. Not bad, but I wouldn't read another one.

    24. On audiobook. A really great reader. Set in the Middle Ages! In the easiest-to-download format! But, oh yeah-- I don't really like mysteries. And I don't listen to audiobooks with the same close attention with which I read my "real" books. So when the author started laying down clues, I got bored and a little resentful that I was supposed to be paying attention and trying to figure things out. This might be a terrific mystery-- but it's not for me. I abandoned it about a third of the way in.

    25. I usually am not a "romance novel" type of person (which Gellis predominately writes) but this series is really really good. Its an entertaining plot, you really get involved with each of the characters, and Gellis is really good at painting the setting of medieval England. The mystery plot is well developed.

    26. I enjoyed this one. It was interesting and unique for the time and one of the first of the medieval mysteries out there. Now Well, I never got around to reading the rest in the series. Neat characters, good grounding in the details, and a real mystery at hand. Recommended. For the complete review, please go here.

    27. I really enjoyed this book. The medieval setting was convincingly portrayed, and the layers of political intrigue were a fascinating backdrop to the story. I also enjoyed the main character, MagdaleneI found her very compelling and interesting, and I thought the author provided a very plausible reason for her to interest herself in the mystery and its solution.

    28. I really enjoyed this book. The characters were fully realized, the plot keeps you guessing, the history was as interesting and alive as the author always makes it. My only complaint is that I lost track of several clues, but I only read it late at night when I was half asleep so that might account for it. Can't wait to read the next two!

    29. A charming story, set in the early 12th century.A body is found on the porch of a church. The body of a papal messenger, who recently left a well kept brothelSo three intrepid plucky prostitutes set out to clear their names.It's really sweet and enjoyable. Especially when you know that Southwark was a place for legal prostitution under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Winchester.

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