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No law in the land is the 27th book in the Knights Templar series of murder mysteries written by English author Michael Jecks, all the books are set in the reign of Edward the II in and around the 1340-1370's.
England in 1324 was a country ruled by Edward II but controlled by the sinister Hugh Despenser whose draconian laws caused the Queen to flee to France to join Edward's senior general Roger Mortimer. The Queen and Mortimer set up a rival court and manage to get hold of Edward's son, the future Edward III as a ward of court. The country soon split into pro and anti Despenser clans and a civil war appeared to be imminent.
The series of novels depict the life and times of an ex-knights templar Sir Baldwin de Furnshill (the Templar's where a warrior sect of priests and knights who were brutally suppressed a few years earlier) and his friend the bailiff Simon Puttock. All the novels previous to this one have been set in the west country in and around Bath, Bristol, Exeter area and feature a brutal murder and then an investigation by Simon and Baldwin.
This murder mystery centred on the fate of a group of travellers who were all brutally murdered, they seem a disparate bunch but all the travellers were slain. Amongst the group were two clerics who had been tortured before they died, the book begins with the slaying and all the way through the reader knows who's responsible but not why. Soon Simon and Baldwin are asked to investigate the crime and are joined by a coroner from a neighbouring area, the murders happened near Exeter but the closest squire is a knight called Sir Roger de Tracy. Roger has set himself up as a local warlord and answers to know one, the title of the book covers his actions and there is truly no law in the land because he appears above the law.
This book is the 27th in the series and as far as I've read the best one so far, the book starts with a shocking murder, it has intrigue, plotting and plenty of twists and turns. The author is also strong enough to create characters with depth and then treats them in the most unkind manner, the author also introduces previously peripheral characters as main characters in this novel such as Simon's married daughter. He uses all these characters to show the effects of Despensers mismanagement of England and the breakdown of law in England. All of them are living in terrible and difficult times, they have recourse to law and any crimes are un-punished, the book tries to give a taste of living in an England without laws or any curbs on anti-social behaviour.
This book flows very well and there are plenty of plot twists to keep the most devoted murder mystery fan happy, it is choc filled with period detail and manages to give one final twist at the end to make the reader jump. All in all, the books by Michael Jecks are set in interesting times and through the eyes of Sir Baldwin and Simon the bailiff we can relive the times when England fell apart.
If you want to find out about the times and troubles of Edward II reign then these books are a must read, all the main characters are depicted in them from Edward, Hugh Despenser, Queen Isabella, Roger Mortimer and Edward the future Edward III all have a story to tell and through the crimes and murders investigated in these novels we get to know them very well.