Book Tour Review: The Blood of the Fifth Knight by E.M. Powell

Monday, January 19, 2015
Title: The Blood of the Fifth Knight
Author: E.M. Powell
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
Series: The Fifth Knight #2
Pages: 352
Published: January 1 2015
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

England, 1176. King Henry II has imprisoned his rebellious Queen for attempting to overthrow him. But with her conspirators still at large and a failed assassination attempt on his beautiful mistress, Rosamund Clifford, the King must take action to preserve his reign.

Desperate, Henry turns to the only man he trusts: a man whose skills have saved him once before. Sir Benedict Palmer answers the call, mistakenly believing that his family will remain safe while he attends to his King.
As Palmer races to secure the throne for the King, neither man senses the hand of a brilliant schemer, a mystery figure loyal to Henry’s traitorous Queen who will stop at nothing to see the King defeated.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight is an intricate medieval murder mystery and a worthy follow-on to E.M. Powell’s acclaimed historical thriller The Fifth Knight.

Tackling the historical tangle around Thomas Becket, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and King Henry II is a big task, but E.M. Powell proves herself equal to it with The Blood of the Fifth Knight. Built around the premise that King Henry had a secret wife and daughter (named Amelie and Theodosia respectively) Powell offers up a totally different (and wholly plausible) plot and history for hr characters -- both real and imagined -- to act out.

The mystery that the novel's main storyline pivots around has its roots in the book's predecessor, called The Fifth Knight. However, this is a duology that can be read independently of its other parts; each can be read as part of the overall series or as standalones. I hadn't read the first book by Powell before starting and was easily able to glean the necessary and relevant information. The book frequently and subtly alludes to what happened before so it's not hard to fill in the gaps.

The cast of characters is varied and shared through a third-person POV. It makes for an all-encompassing picture of the larger plot, but characterization can be hit or miss. The primary character of Benedict is obviously the recipient of the most definition but his wife, King Henry, and Geoffrey are also handled well. Where it fell apart was the antagonists --- Eleanor is never seen on page, Raoul de Faye her agent/uncle is hardly seen, either. The bulk of the antagonism results from two other characters, both of whom felt rather one-note.

The dramatic tension, the atmosphere, the well-constructed mysteries and twists were all high points for me while reading The Blood of the Fifth Knight. While most of the book is true to history, Powell's inventions and divergences make for a cohesive and streamlined story. With perhaps a bit more emphasis on defining characters, I could see this easily being a 5-star read. That said, this is a very solid, enthusiastic 3.5/5.

The Blood of the Fifth Knight Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, January 1
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, January 2
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, January 5
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, January 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 12
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Tuesday, January 13
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, January 14
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 16
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Saturday, January 17
Interview at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, January 19
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, January 20
Review at Books and Benches
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, January 21
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, January 26
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, January 28
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, January 30
Review at Bookramblings

Saturday, January 31
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, February 1
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, February 2
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, February 3
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at Let them Read Books

Wednesday, February 4
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, February 6
Review at The Never-Ending Book

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