‘The Tournament of Blood’ is the 11th novel in the Knights Templar mysteries by Michael Jecks.
The story begins when Sir Baldwin Furnshill’s wife Jeanne gives birth to their first child – a girl. So with a bellowing newborn in the house, Baldwin is happy to escape. Lord Hugh de Courtenay is hosting a tournament with Simon Puttock organising the details.
The novel contains a lot of details about medieval tournaments which were designed to keep knights and squires in training. They were also a great source of entertainment and a profitable time for local traders and for money lenders who funded knights when they forfeited property on losing a fight.
One money lender who won’t be partaking is Benjamin Dudenay. About a month before the tournament he was brutally murdered. From the beginning, we know the identity of the murderer and his motive.
Then as the tournament is starting, there are more murders. When Simon is accused of murder it adds urgency to the hunt for the killer. Baldwin wants to stop the killer before he can strike again.
The tournament turns to chaos for the Puttock family. Simon’s 14 year old daughter has fallen in love with a young knight. She dreams of marriage while his intentions are much less honourable.
The death toll continues to rise until Baldwin works out what is really happening, but the way he deals with it is surprising.
This novel was an excellent addition to the series, one of my favourites so far. There was a lot of history in this novel as well as a lot of personal stories – mostly lacking in knightly chivalry. The more that I get to know the main characters of this series, the more that I like them.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel – ‘The Sticklepath Strangler’.
Book Published 2001