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Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  895 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
It is late summer in the year 1270 and England is as weary as its aging king, Henry III. Although the Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, the smell of death still hangs like smoke over the land. Even in the small priory of Tyndal on the remote East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long for a return to tranquil routine. Their hopes are dashed, h ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published January 30th 2006 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published December 30th 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,061)
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Aug 21, 2010 Suzanne rated it it was ok
The author clearly knows her historical facts, but what she does not know is how to convey them through a fictional work. Once again, we have a new author who lectures the reader rather than telling a story through dialogue and action. Over and over, she tells us about conversations that have taken place, rather than staging them, and about what people are thinking and feeling directly, rather than creating scenes which reveal this to us.
Oct 26, 2015 Louise rated it liked it
A bit stilted in the opening chapters but improved as it progressed. I really liked the characters of the prioress, Brother Thomas, and Sister Anne. The mystery wasn't difficult to figure out, but still a good read. I will look for the next one in the series.
Mar 18, 2016 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical
I was expecting the worst of this book, given so many reviews mentioning Royal's habit of lecturing instead of letting the story tell the setting. So it was I set about reading this one with visions of the two disappointing doherty novels I last read foremost in my mind.

I was surprised to find then that she doesn't suffer this problem at all, at least not as egregiously as Paul Doherty did. She does have a tendancy to lapse into internal monologuing with her characters at times, too often for my
I hovered between 2.5 and 3 stars for this historical fiction mystery. I liked the setting and the characters were believable for the most part. I only skimmed the foreword but the author has clearly taken the time to research the Fontevraud order and the time period of the late 13th century England. But some parts of it still struck me as a bit off (Eleanor, the daughter of a Norman noble, being taught to read and write in English for example).

I also found the plot, while probable, slightly dis
Sep 24, 2015 Cissa rated it really liked it
I really loved the setting: a "progressive" priory in the 12th century CE.

I am not a medieval scholar, so I have no idea how authentic this setting is... but I very much enjoyed it, both as it showed common human actions and reactions, and as it depicted a very different world.

The characters were well-drawn, too- distinct, and each with their own priorities and motivations.

The plot was twisty, though somewhat predictable.

This is the second book I've read in the series, and it hearkens back to th
Mar 28, 2013 Damaskcat rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a medieval mystery series and it is set in a religious foundation in Suffolk which has both monks and nuns. A new Prioress has just been appointed following the death of the previous Prioress. The body of a monk is found in the nuns’ enclosure with horrific injuries and Prioress Eleanor feels her first job must be to find out who killed him. But Eleanor has to convince the monks and nuns in her charge that she isn’t too young to rule them and battle her own inappropriat ...more
Jan 04, 2012 Rosemary rated it really liked it
Generally my satisfaction in a "whodunit" is determined by the quality, complexity, and resolutions of the crime, and when those are poorly, shallowly, or obviously presented I generally have a negative impression of the book. While the "mystery" in this one was fairly obvious from the beginning, and the mystery itself not overly-well done, I found myself enjoying this book quite a bit.

This novel (the first in a series) has two strengths for me. The first is the attention to medieval life and th
Ken Kugler
Dec 17, 2012 Ken Kugler rated it really liked it
First I would like to say that I love Medieval Mysteries and this one was recommended by an author whose books I really enjoy, Jeri Westerson. This first book in a series is set in Tyndal on the East Anglian coast in England. It is set in an unusual monastery, a double house which has monks and nuns are part of the Order of Fontevraud. The really unusual part is that this type of house is headed by a Prioress and not a man.
The story starts with as a new prioress, Eleanor, coming to the priory as
Sep 13, 2014 Fiona rated it did not like it
Shelves: general-fiction
This seemed very amateurish to me with clumsy dialogue and clumsy techniques used to introduce characters and background detail. I've only recently discovered that I enjoy historical fiction but if I'd read this before I did, it might have put me off for ever more. I'm seriously at odds with the vast majority of readers though so perhaps I just wasn't in the mood. That's the really disappointing part as I'm in Norfolk on holiday and had been looking forward to reading this here. [I was slightly ...more
Angel Pascoe
Didn't like it. I'd rather read Cadfael or the Abbess of Meaux for medieval mysteries.
Aug 29, 2015 Alice rated it it was ok
The preface sets up the premise that any possible character/society value would not necessarily be different from the 20th century. Individual values and feeling are the same no matter what the morals are of the society.

Not sure I buy into that premise. For a book published in 2003, the tone shows an acceptance for graphic description that doesn't quite ring true for the Medieval Era.

point of reference for the role models are Heloise and Abelare
Eleanor is 20? Thomas ?
pg 42-- Eleanor "Grown up i
May 03, 2014 Tisha rated it really liked it
Wine of Violence was a book I very much enjoyed reading. It wasn't a life-changing book, as a 5 star book would be, but I sure wish there was a 4.5 rating, because it was a book that was an enjoyable read as well as providing "thought fodder" for further meditation and/or discussion.

First, a general summary of the plot: It is 1270 in England and the people are weary of wars and rebellions. The Normans have invaded and conquered and society is split between the conquerors and the conquered and o
Apr 06, 2014 Jen rated it it was amazing

The Wine of Violence by Priscilla Royal
A Garden Carried in the Pocket by jenclair / 0min // keep unread // hide // preview
Wine of Violence

While I was looking for medieval mystery titles, I found Priscilla Royal's books listed and decided to try one.

Wine of Violence is the first in her series featuring young Eleanor of Wynethrop, who has recently been appointed Prioress of Tyndale Priory. Eleanor's appointment is a political one, overruling the usual practice of the nuns electing their own prio
Linda Bridges
Aug 17, 2014 Linda Bridges rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
The first book in a series about Prioress Eleanor in medieval England, the book details the story of how she came in to be charge of Tyndal Abbey, home to both monks and nuns. The founder of the Fontevraud order had established that the abbeys established would be run by a woman, and not any of the monks. There is dismay over Eleanor's arrival due to her age (she is only 25), the fact that she was appointed from outside and not elected by the nuns living there, and resentment over her policies ...more
Really this is more of a 2.5 star book for me but I didn't want to give a lower count. Royal has the framework of a terrific series, but in this first installment, she kind of told rather than showed a whole lot. I read a ton of mysteries and even I found myself lost at times, wondering if I had missed something.

I do like Prioress Eleanor, Sister Anne, and Gytha. Thomas and John as well. The character development was actually quite good for such a short book.

The historical details are accurate
It is the year 1270 and England is as weary as its aging king with the smell of death hanging like smoke over the land. Even in the priory of Tyndal on the East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long for a return to tranquil routine. Their hopes are dashed when the young and inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress over someone of their own choosing. Only a day after her arrival, a murdered monk is found in the cloister gardens, and Brother T ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Knowing how much I enjoy the Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters and Sister Fidelma by Peter Tremayne medieval mystery series a friend recommended the Medieval Mystery Series by Priscilla Royal. I am hooked again; I enjoyed this first mystery and plan on continuing the series. I like the characters especially the portrayal of the prioress. Although the author explained her reasoning in the forward I did find some of the progressive ideas discussed within the story a bit disconcerting, more 20th cent ...more
May 06, 2015 Gretchen rated it really liked it
Short and to the point. The mystery occurred and then it was solved. Nothing was drawn out and over thought. The author did a brilliant job developing characters in a minimal amount of pages.
Eleanor, the daughter of one of King Henry III's barons, is appointed prioress of Tyndal, on the coast of East Anglia. Tyndal Priory is a double house of the Order of Fontevraud, meaning it houses both nuns and monks, something rather common in early Christian days but a concept that was going out of style by this time.

Brother Thomas, a young man with a past that landed him in prison and could have resulted in his execution, is also send to Tyndal by a mysterious benefactor who has given the yo
Mar 17, 2015 Ruth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
c2003: FWFTB: 1270: East Anglia, prioress, Fontevraud, cloister. A competent novel. I am not altogether sure that the plot hangs together all that well and the characterisations were a little thin. But, I finished it and it was a quick read. The blurb kind of infers that it is akin to Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael books but I did not find it to be so. Recommended to those of the normal crew that may have it on their TBR piles. " Treating low creatures as equals is an error you have been making s ...more
Jun 22, 2009 Awallens rated it really liked it
It is late summer in the year 1270 and England is as weary as its aging king, Henry III. Although the Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, the smell of
death still hangs like smoke over the land. Even in the small priory of Tyndal on the remote East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud
long for a return to tranquil routine. Their hopes are dashed, however, when the young and inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress
over someone of their own choosin
Apr 01, 2013 Nancy added it
It is late summer in the year 1270 and England is as weary as its aging king, Henry III. Although the Simon de Montfort rebellion is over, the smell of death still hangs like smoke over the land. Even in the small priory of Tyndal on the remote East Anglian coast, the monks and nuns of the Order of Fontevraud long for a return to tranquil routine. Their hopes are dashed, however, when the young and inexperienced Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed their new prioress over someone of their own choo ...more
I would have never even known this book existed if it weren't for the recommendation of author extraordinaire, Sharon Kay Penman, and a 99c Kindle sale. Wine of Violence is a wonderfully written novel that takes place in the late 13th century. Hard feelings remain for the Saxons who were defeated long ago by the Normans, and Henry III has won a victory in the name of monarchial strength when Simon de Montfort was defeated. It is not a good time to be a villein. But this story isn't about the Nor ...more
May 10, 2012 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
This novel is readable, with a fair mystery and characters who could be interesting. However, it seems to struggle somewhat in being a mystery novel instead of more general historical fiction. It reads very much like historical fiction that had a mystery tossed in to give it a more specific genre.

The saving graces of the novel are its easy-to-read style, interesting if two-dimensional supporting cast, and a decent mystery with an emotionally satisfying outcome. Since the writing is solid and the
Pretty good historical mystery. This is the first of a series, and I've bought the second one to continue. The story is set in 1270 in a small priory in England. A young nun named Eleanor is newly appointed as prioress, and struggles to gain the respect and acceptance of the other nuns and monks that reside there. On her first day at the priory Eleanor has to cope with the discovery of an older monk found murdered in the garden, as well as a newly arrived monk named Brother Thomas for which she ...more
Karen Brooks
May 24, 2013 Karen Brooks rated it liked it
Still on my medieval history binge, this book, by Priscilla Royal was recommended to me by a friend. The short novel set in 1270, tells the story of Sister Eleanor, the newly appointed prioress of a monastery that houses both monks and nuns in one of the only orders that allowed such co-mingling during the Middle Ages.
Blessed with a quick mind and youth, the new prioress encounters not just resistance form the older monks and nuns who can’t reconcile her age and attractiveness with her abilitie
Lizzie Hayes
Jan 20, 2013 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following the death of prioress Felicia in the summer of 1270, twenty-one-year-old Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed prioress by King Henry III. A political move that pleased the family, but not the monk and nuns of Tyndal Priory, which belongs to the Order of Fontevraud, where monks and nuns live and work in close proximity.

Within a day of her arrival Eleanor is apprehensively aware that she has usurped the order’s elected choice, Sister Ruth. Then the one person who had welcomed her, and who
Nov 10, 2015 Gordon rated it liked it
I read this because of an Amazon promotion. I didn't regret it. Set in the England of Edward I, this well-researched book follows the sleuthing of Prioress Eleanor, who has ascended to the position by the influence of her noble father. Overcoming her youth (20) and her inexperience, she uses her wits to be a good leader for her slightly odd priory and the world of mystery that she is thrust into. It's not really a faithful trip to that time period, but many details ring true. Great escape.
Historical novels which also double as detective fiction are becoming more common. It's easy enough to accept a Victorian novel treated this way as in the times of Sherlock Holmes there was a professional police force. Reading about Marcus Falco in Silver Pigs about a private detective, mixing it with corrupt officers in the Aedile's office in Imperial Rome is harder to take, but comical in the mixing of Twentieth Century urban America and First Century Rome. I guess there were Crowners in each ...more
Martin Turner
Interesting crime drama set in 1270 mediaeval England. Priscilla Royal is an American and a few American phrases have slipped in here which can slightly distract from the period in question. Quite a good crime plot though if a little disappointing at the end and the (to me) unrealistic feelings of the characters to male to male "love" for the time. I guessed who the perpetrator of the crimes was quite early on, but thid did not detract from the storyline at all. Enjoyable.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: "Wine of Violence" by Priscilla Royal 1 1 Jun 01, 2013 10:22AM  
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Priscilla has a degree in world literature from San Francisco State University, where she discovered the beauty of medieval literature. She is a theater fan as well as reader of history, mysteries, and fiction of lesser violence. She lives in Northern California and belongs to the California Writers Club and Sisters in Crime.
More about Priscilla Royal...

Other Books in the Series

Medieval Mystery (1 - 10 of 12 books)
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  • Sorrow Without End (Medieval Mystery, #3)
  • Justice for the Damned (Medieval Mystery, #4)
  • Forsaken Soul (Medieval Mystery, #5)
  • Chambers of Death (Medieval Mystery, #6)
  • Valley of Dry Bones (Medieval Mystery, #7)
  • A Killing Season (Medieval Mystery, #8)
  • Sanctity of Hate (Medieval Mystery, #9)
  • Covenant with Hell  (Medieval Mystery, #10)
  • Satan's Lullaby (Medieval Mystery, #11)

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