Sorrow Without End by Priscilla Royal

Priscilla Royal’s Sorrow Without End is the third installment in her mystery series that follows Prioress Eleanor at the Tyndal Priory.  In this book, Royal continues the excellence of the first two books.


Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the book’s website:

As the autumn storms of 1271 ravage the East Anglian coast, Crowner Ralf finds the corpse of a brutally murdered soldier in the woods near Tyndal Priory.  The dagger in the man’s chest is engraved with a strange, cursive design, and the body is wrapped in a crusader’s cloak.  Was this the act of a member of the Assassin sect or was the weapon meant to mislead him in finding the killer

Ralf’s decision to take the corpse to the priory for advice may be reasonable, but he is soon caught up in a maelstrom of conflict, both personal and political.  The priory is deeply divided over whether to purchase a relic, a decision that endangers both Prioress Eleanor’s leadership and the future of the hospital.  Brother Thomas becomes a suspect in the murder itself, and Ralf must choose between the demands of his brother, the sheriff, and loyalty to a friend.

Meanwhile, the murderer watches and waits.

The book is filled with suspense – especially after another person is murdered and a nun is raped.  Royal expertly weaves the various suspects together to keep you guessing at who the malcontent is.


The character development is superb.  The tension between Prioress Eleanor and Brother Thomas continues in this book – a tension that is caused by Eleanor’s lustful thoughts of Thomas.  Thomas is thoroughly confused at the signals he receives from his prioress.  Royal does not fall into the trap of portraying monks and nuns without sin – it is quite refreshing to see characters that are portrayed as real human beings.

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