A transfer from Oxford to Stepney for DCI Jack Pendragon, the brutal murder of a security guard at a construction site and the skeleton of a man dead since the fifteenth century are the basic ingredients of this crime thriller set in London.  In parallel there is a story set in the fifteenth century, covering both France and London.   An amazing emerald ring on the finger of the skeleton is photographed, before both it and the skeleton disappear.  It is at this point the parallel story makes the necessary connections,  for the ring is actually one belonging to Lucretia Borgia and the reader is eventually provided with an explanation as to how the ring and the skeleton arrived in London.   Two more deaths, equally gruesome, follow in quick succession.  Currently unattached, DCI Pendragon meets Sue Latimer, a tenant in the same building and the burgeoning relationship forms the vague romantic thread through the novel. When the murderer attempts to get at DCI Pendragon through Sue, this is a step to far and the action moves up a notch.  The unexpected twist in the satisfying conclusion to the story elevates this book beyond a mere “undemanding holiday read”.

While DCI Jack Pendragon didn’t have the appeal for me, of Inspector Linley, Morse, Rebus or Lord Peter Wimsey; nevertheless it was interesting to see his interaction with colleagues and the development of his relationship with Sue.   Despite the alternating of the two narratives, this ancient tale is necessary to a full understanding of the contemporary one.  

A gripping read and an almost credible story line gives some credence to the authors claim that this is fiction based on fact.

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