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Prince of Darkness (Justin de Quincy #4)

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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  1,813 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Justin de Quincy hastens to Paris at the request of his former lover only to discover that she was acting on behalf of his nemesis, Prince John. The prince has been implicated in a plot to kill his brother, King Richard, and wants Justin to prove the incriminating document false.

Realizing that John's suspected treachery may also risk the welfare of the woman he serves, E
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Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 7th 2006 by Berkley Trade (first published March 31st 2005)
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Lori
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hist-myst
This is the fourth and currently last installment of Penman's delightful Justin de Quincy mystery series. It is a shame that Penman's publishers have at least temporarily terminated the series, asking that she focus more on her longer historicals. I adore Penman's massive and meticulously researched historicals, but I also enjoy a short, fast and easy read at times, too. I can well imagine that these shorter works allow Penman to cleanse her mind between her longer works, utilizing her knowledge ...more
Cristina
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Justin de Quincy has to help out Prince John (while Queen Eleanor is off ransoming King Richard)?! Oh my!!! Poor Justin! What a mess he has gotten himself into this time, and what fun for us!
We've left England for France, searching for the people responsible for a plot to discredit John in Richard's eyes upon his return... and as Justin feels the Queen would want him to help her son, he does (and well, let's face it... the likelyhood of John inheriting Richard's throne is very high, can't hurt t
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Ruth
Feb 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-club, mystery
My book club invited the author to come visit us while we discussed this book, and we all enjoyed both the book and her visit. We were all impressed with how hard she works to keep the historical details correct, and to give an accurate portrait of life in that time period.
Deborah Pickstone
Last of 4 fictional mysteries set with the Plantagenets. Queen Eleanor is away rescuing Richard Lionheart but Justin's 'holiday' soon gets derailed by a commission from John. Nice to see John in an almost positive light for a change! Pity Ms Penman didn't finish off her Plantagenet series with a biographical novel about John but she was pretty clear that it all ended with Richard. Tsk.

The byplay between Justin and Durand is good fun - two secret agents of the queen (one being a double agent) who
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
I've heard that the four medieval mysteries of which this is the last wasn't as successful as Penman's other books and no more are planned. Which I find a shame. I wasn't impressed with the first two books in the series. I thought the resolution and culprits predictable and Penman herself said in one author's note she wasn't completely comfortable at first dealing with completely fictional characters. The series grew on me though, and I think she grew in her skill in this genre.

I wouldn't put t
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Suzanne
I did it! I finally finished the fourth (and so far, final) book in Penman's Justin de Quincy series. I don't know how she does it. Every book in the series has a creative, new mystery that features another facet of the story of Richard Lionheart and his rival/brother John.

In this book, Justin de Quincy is called to France to help the very person he dislikes, the enemy of his King - John. Surprisingly, de Quincy realizes that he should lend his assistance here, because the plot he is called to u
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Abby
Dec 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Prince of Darkness follows a new Justin de Quincy: older, wiser and now a father, Justin has finally grown up. There's still a lot of commentary from other characters about his innocence, but his internal dialogue has matured.

In this installment, Justin's working for Prince John, navigating the tangled knots of politics of both English and French courts as he seeks to clear John's name from a charge of high treason. Throwing Justin in with the man he most loathes was a great narrative concept an
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Gigi  Berrett
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've enjoyed this series. She writes well; I like her main character, Justin; and the backdrop of medieval England and France with historical people is great. This one took place in France including Mont St. Michel--a favorite place of mine. The author hints that there will be another Justin book, but I can't find one yet. Hope she continues.
Norma J. Ray
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent book!

Loved the character development especially the women. Justin is such a line able character. I always learn so much from her books. This time about Breton-Welsh relationship. I'm curious - were the Gaelic languages the ancient languages?
Lori Sheats
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not as good as the other books. Would give it 2.5 stars if I could. Bummer the series ended on such a below average book.
Marianne
Good, solid but not spectacular. I kept wondering why I should really care.
Marlowe
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth in Penman’s Justin de Quincy mystery series, but the first of her novels that I’ve read. In some ways, it was a shame because it gave me the feeling of falling into the story mid-way. The novel is definitely readable without having read any of the previous books, but since a lot of the characters are reappearances, I fear that I might know too much should I ever decide to read the previous novels in the collection. For those terribly curious, I started with this book because I ...more
 Olivermagnus
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
The fourth and (currently) final book in the Justin de Quincy series finds Justin helping Prince John. When former love, Lady Claudine, tricks Justin into a meeting with King Richard's treacherous brother, Prince John, he is angry and feels betrayed. However, Justin's first loyalty is to Queen Eleanor so he stays and listens to John's request. Prince John has learned through a former lover that he's being suspected of a plot to kill King Richard. The reader may wonder, so what else is new....Joh ...more
D.K. Cherian
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sharon Kay Penman' novel; Prince of Darkness is the fourth in the Justin de Quincy series and my second read after number three. In my review for Number 3, i made mention the Penman did not properly introduce the characters for those without familiarity with her novels or with familiarity of English medeival history. I had the same gripe with Prince of Darkness but it was slightly more easier reading having already read Number 3.
Again, there are characters introduced to us who are not critical
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Christa
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Justin travels to Paris where he faces frustration and potential failure to protect the interests of his queen. The most international of the mysteries, Justin travels all over France and the surrounding provinces in the unlikely attempt to clear the name of the man he considers to be (at least) mostly his enemy. In this case, their interests align, and, although Justin harbors no delusions about John's trustworthiness, he finds himself sucked up into the rarefied intrigues of international poli ...more
Kimberly Ann
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it


This book is about the plot of would-be King John & French King Philippe to keep King Richard Lionheart prisoner of Germany. Justin d'Quincy is the "Queen's Man" and is brought into the fray by John in order to protect himself from a forged document stating that he, John, is plotting to kill King Richard.

With no interest in helping John, Justin reluctantly agrees to find the truth of the document when he finds that his Queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine is also at risk.

The book has many twists and
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Kristen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeanne
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popcorn
Picked this book up at the library book sale and it turned out to be pretty good historical fiction! Set in 12th century England (you know King Richard the Lionhearted, Prince John the no goodnik, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Robin Hood (not in this book)) our hero Justin De Quincy is sort of an early investigative agent. The author is something of an expert on this period so everything is accurate which gives some depth to the material. Also, part of the story plays out a Mont St Michel which I had th ...more
Dolly
Apr 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical mysteries
I've really enjoyed the Justin de Quincy series. The author,Sharon Kay Penman, mentions that there will be at least one more book in the series, but it appears that this is the last one for now. The story is compelling and the historical backdrop is fascinating. Some of the language was a bit distracting, like when she mixes present day language and idioms with that of old (ie, arse-licking), but overall, it was a very good story.

new words: wroth, forfend, tabard, catarrh, almonry, mantle, ossua
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Maria
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am always a sucker for a Sharon Kay Penman novel! There are about five female historical fiction and fantasy writers who rarely disappoint, and Ms. Penman is the first of them I discovered back when her Wales trilogy came out. This novel follows Eleanor of Acquitane's personal "man" Justin de Quincey on yet another adventure in his young life. However, this adventure has him reluctantly helping the Queen's son Prince John, whom he hates. Having no choice but to throw in with several other dist ...more
Cathy Austin
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Penman has really made this series a joy to read. Main character Justin de Quincy has grown into a most likeable and capable character in being the Queen's Man (Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. This 4th book has Justin and archenemy Durand working together providing much wit, humour, angst and colourful language and perilous episodes. Several deaths occur in France, in Brittany all while Justin and Durand and their men are pursuing whoresons and ne'er do wells, striving to solve a predicament John, t ...more
Karen
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Her medieval murder mysteries are getting more "modern" all the time. The difficulty with historical fiction is to present characters of their time in a way that makes sense to modern audiences. If they speak and act exactly like 21st century people, that doesn't work well. On the other hand, an author doesn't want to make her characters speech and actions completely unrecognizable. Penman seems to have succeeded in this difficult task better in her earlier books. The story line of Prince Of Dar ...more
September
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings about Prince of Darkness.

I picked this book up inexpensively from my local Chapters bookstore. Unfortunately, I didn't know beforehand, that this was book 4 in a series. So, I was a little lost at times, but intrigued enough to want to read the other books in the series.

In the beginning, the book took awhile before becoming engaging. This may have been due to the fact that I read it in fits & starts, initially, but once I got into it, I was gobbling it up.

The ending wa
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Julie Achterhoff
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book focuses on one of Queen Eleanor's "men." This time he is working for her son, John. A letter appears on the scene saying that John is plotting the death of his brother, King Richard. It is a scam according to John, so he hires two men to find out how to fix this problematic situation. There are a lot of good fights and intrigue, as well as a seemingly factual view into the lives of the people during the 15th century, right around the beginning of the Renaissance.
I liked it a lot, but
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Donna
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I often enjoy learning history from the setting of historical mysteries, in this book it seemed that you needed to know the history first in order to follow what was going on in the story. Too many new characters to keep track of. Also, it's kind of weird to have the main character known as the "queen's man" without much seen of the Queen. I missed Eleanor.

Unlike some other mystery series, in this one the books leave little time gap between volumes. In four books the time covered is about
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Mirah W
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy the Justin de Qunicy novels and this one took a different turn having Justin work with John instead of the Queen. I liked the introduction of some of the new characters...Yann, Morgan, Arzhela, and Brother Andrev...they were all great and I loved what they contributed to the story. It was interesting to get more of John's perspective in this installment, but I'm not quite sure how much we really learned about him...was he being honest or manipulative? I look forward to more of Jus ...more
Lindsay
Jan 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Justin de Quincy hastens to Paris at the request of his former lover (and mother of his child) only to discover that Prince John had put her up to it. The prince has been implicated in a plot to kill his brother, King Richard, and wants Justin to prove the incriminating document false.

Justin vows that he only serves the queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, but that in this case her son John's suspected treachery may also risk the welfare of the the queen. Old enemies become allies as Justin stumbles upo
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Joan
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fictional account of a plot by Breton lords to discredit Prince John during the imprisonment of his brother Richard the Lionheart. Justin de Quincy is sent by the dowager Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine to help solve the mystery of who is actually behind the plot. Justin spends a lot of time in the saddle in Normandy and Brittany and Paris following up various leads.

Wonderful summer read - but it is very helpful to keep a cheat sheet with the names and relations of the various characters.
Zorah
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the insight into the intrigue between Richard the Lionheart and his brother John. The Author weaves the character Jusin in and out of both courts through his connection to their Mother Eleanor of Aquitane. The awful French King Phillipe and the Catholic Church and its intrigues are exposed, and Richard returns from exile to wreck havoc on John's English properties. I could go on and on, but then, that would spoil it for you.
Marilyn
Apr 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, 2016
This was not bad; in fact it was a good story but it was not exactly what I had expected having read the three previous books in the series. The others were who-done-it-murders that Justin and his side-kick sheriff solved. This time the sheriff is mostly absent, a previous prime antagonist becomes a partner in solving a conspiracy and King John is made out to be a good guy (kinda sort-of, if you get my drift). Are you confused? So was I but, oh well.
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Penman received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, she majored in history, and also received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law, and later worked as a tax lawyer. Penman suffered from an eighteen month bout with mononucleosis.

The Sunne in Splendour, a novel about Richard III of England is one of the most popular books on the Historical Nov
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More about Sharon Kay Penman...

Other Books in the Series

Justin de Quincy (4 books)
  • The Queen's Man (Justin de Quincy, #1)
  • Cruel as the Grave (Justin de Quincy, #2)
  • Dragon's Lair (Justin de Quincy, #3)

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