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March 1147. Determined to escape the gloom that has descended on Aber, Gareth and Gwen travel to Shrewsbury in an attempt to find answers about Rhun’s death, about the whereabouts and plans of Prince Cadwaladr, and about Gwen’s family ties to England.

But when John Fletcher, now Deputy Sheriff of Shrewsbury, asks Gareth to help him investigate a pool of blood for which he has no body, Gareth can’t refuse. And when the investigation points to a conspiracy involving some of the leading citizens of Shrewsbury, Gwynedd’s foremost investigators go looking for answers--and find that trouble isn’t far behind.

The Renegade Merchant is the seventh Gareth & Gwen Medieval Mystery.

237 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 3, 2015

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About the author

Sarah Woodbury

107 books638 followers
With over a million books sold to date, Sarah Woodbury is the author of more than forty novels, all set in medieval Wales. Although an anthropologist by training, and then a full-time homeschooling mom for twenty years, she began writing fiction when the stories in her head overflowed and demanded that she let them out. While her ancestry is Welsh, she only visited Wales for the first time at university. She has been in love with the country, language, and people ever since. She even convinced her husband to give all four of their children Welsh names.

Sarah is a member of the Historical Authors Fiction Cooperative (HFAC), the Historical Novel Society, and Novelists, Inc. (NINC).

She makes her home in Oregon.

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5 stars
190 (52%)
4 stars
120 (33%)
3 stars
42 (11%)
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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
521 reviews
January 6, 2020
Engrossing book! Gareth & Gwen have gone to Shrewsbury with their daughter, accompanied by Gwen’s father & brother. Death seems to stalk, and taunt, them wherever they go—and Shrewsbury is no different!
We get bits of additional information concerning Adeline, a victim in the previous book, and further evidence of Prince Cadwaladr’s treachery and treason. For the more historically inclined reader however, there is a plethora of additional period details concerning the landscape, castles, English and Welsh customs that make the book seem a window into the world as it might have been viewed by a real Gareth and Gwen.
For me, that is the true draw of these books, the detail that Ms. Woodbury has drawn into her story from her years of research. Reading one of her books is a true educational experience, especially if you are reading an eBook (such as Kindle) that links to Wikipedia for all sorts of further information on Castell Dinas Brân, for example, or the nearby Eglwseg escarpment.
The plot is good, the H & h likeable, and the education into the world of the 12th century is most enjoyable. I can tell myself I am reading for edification as much as enjoyment when I settle in with one of these books!
227 reviews7 followers
July 1, 2019
Another Interesting Story

I Recommend This Series. Another good read in the series...would like a more varied use of words to describe the physical gestures and facial expressions of the characters. The dialogue and vocabulary of the characters Stanislaus terms used at the time but are often much more contemporary...as well. Canting ones head, hands on hips, slicing ones hand, snapping ones fingers, ect. Seem awfully repetitive. I do not speak Welsh or French or know enough about the phrases of the period to criticize too much... However, the inner thoughts of each of the characters and the dialogue just doesn't always ring true. This story, like the previous books arms well researched and historically accurate...I have read many novels a out and around this era...mostly English in origin...all of Ellis Peters Cadfael books, Candace Robb's Owen Archer series, Mary Stewart's books, and anything I can find about Merlin and King Arthur ... All magnificent! Anyway. I finished all those years ago and am renewing my be passion through Ms. Woodbury 's. books! This is number 7 in the series and I am on my way to number 8...Cannot wait. A Gwen and Gareth marathon.
679 reviews3 followers
October 10, 2021
It is an interesting premise that two Welsh speakers would be allowed to investigate in England, even if invited to do so by the English undersheriff. I don't believe that that would have happened under any circumstances. But setting that aside, it is a well-done mystery. I like the author notes at the end that describe the reality of what was going on in England and Wales at the time. It is a well-researched series but not really well written. The author and the editor need to expand their vocabulary a bit.
January 28, 2018
So glad that I discovered this series as it is the perfect mix of murder mystery and historical text, which allows for a great story whilst also learning about medieval Wales, England and Dublin. I especially love the way that certain puzzle pieces run over into the next books and that it is all part of a larger story.
Profile Image for Patricia.
2,909 reviews14 followers
April 28, 2020
While this book was really and truly a lovely continuation of the series, I didn’t enjoy the subject matter of prostitution or slave trade. Further, I had been saddened at the death of Rhun in the last book and there was just a dark cloud of sadness hanging over this book that I didn’t really relish since I already felt the same way about the loss of Rhun.
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290 reviews
January 22, 2023
I'm not so sure if Garreth, let alone Gwen, would have been permitted to investigate in England. I also thought there were a few too many coincidences to be realistic. This book was the least standalone of the series. I was strangely bugged by the number of times a character tapped his bottom lip in thought. I've only seen a person do that once. And it was creepy.
Profile Image for Voirrey.
691 reviews4 followers
January 1, 2018
Another good detective story - and a family mystery solved as well.

It is interesting, too, to see Hywel trying to adjust to his new, unwanted, role and bringing in his half-brothers to strengthen the family.
Profile Image for Jena Duffy.
59 reviews
August 21, 2019
Loved it

At the beginning I thought I knew who the killer was, nope I was wrong. Than in the middle I thought I knew, again I was wrong! It's great to read an author that keeps you guessing!
161 reviews
September 17, 2020
Hard to follow. This is the least favorite of the series so far, although I enjoyed it.
609 reviews26 followers
May 23, 2023
This series always makes me happy. A great story with interesting characters that moves along at a good pace.
Profile Image for Lora Shouse.
Author 1 book29 followers
February 18, 2023
The seventh book of The Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries series, The Renegade Merchant continues the case from the previous book, The Lost Brother.

It’s the next spring after the events in the previous book. Gareth and Gwen go to Shrewsbury with Gwen’s father, Meilyr, and her brother, Gwalchmai. They want to find out the truth about Adeline, the girl who looks like Gwen who was killed in the previous book, The Lost Brother. Could she actually have also been Meilyr’s daughter? While they are there, John Fletcher, the newly appointed Deputy Sheriff of that town who helped them with the murders of their look-alikes taps Gareth to help him with another investigation.

That case goes through many twists and turns, involving everything from the man to whom Adeline had been engaged to the potential selling of slaves to – surprise – another connection to Cadwallader.

Meanwhile, Hywel and his brothers take Mold Castle. Having found his own clue as to the whereabouts of Cadwallader, Hywel leaves Cynan and Madoc to consolidate the conquest while he too heads for Shrewsbury. He stops off at Dinas Bran, the seat of his aunt’s husband Madog, the King of Powys. Though they are cordially received at first, Madog tries to have them killed. Hywel manages to escape but loses half the men he brought with him.

Hywel arrives in Shrewsbury just in time to help rescue Gareth and Gwen from the slave dealers. These people will apparently sell anybody they can get in their power, although slavery is no longer legal in England. While the slavers have them in custody, they make friends with a new potential ally, a man named Conall who seems to serve one of the Irish kings in a similar capacity as they serve Hywel and King Owain.

Unfortunately, Cadwallader, though he was involved with the slave traders, is once again long gone, and dealing with him still has to be left to the future.
Profile Image for Bron.
445 reviews6 followers
October 3, 2015
Gareth and Gwen are in Shrewsbury Abbey with Abbot Ranulfus, I held my breath in case Cadfael walked in, but the Abbot explained that their only Welsh speaking brother was away tending the sick in Ludlow. Two stories run parallel in this book, Gwen and her family are in Shrewsbury trying to discover more about the ill fated Adeline who looked so much like Gwen. Hywel is still in Wales mourning the loss of his brother Rhun and getting out of a murderous bit of treachery on the part of his Uncle. Gwen and Gareth soon get swept up in an investigation which takes them into the seedier side of medieval life and puts them in great danger. I enjoyed this story thoroughly, but unlike some of the earlier ones, you do need to have read the previous book in order to understand the relationships between some of the characters.
Profile Image for Ali.
1,290 reviews106 followers
September 27, 2015
I wasn't sure if Woodbury would finish up the series with the significant events of the last book, but she picks up here in the aftermath, with two concurrent stories, one set with Hywel following political developments and one with Gwen and Gareth investigating a mystery in Shrewsbury. It's worth noting that Woodbury leans heavily on Ellis Peters/Pargeter's Cadfael stories for her description of Shrewsbury, making for a nice consistent medieval mystery world. The mystery itself, however, suffers from being written in a decidedly lackluster way, making the Hywel chapters feel like the goal you slog through the rest for. The character development also felt choppy, with Gwen alternately making risky decisions for inexplicable reasons, then agonising about why she did that - which frankly, wasn't remotely clear to the reader either, given her emotional distance from the plot in general.
Profile Image for Katie.
433 reviews6 followers
October 25, 2015
The last few in this series have really been disappointing and this was the worse. It was boring, tedious, and I had to force myself to turn the pages. I don't know if there will be another and if there is, I feel it's unlikely I will read it.
250 reviews2 followers
September 24, 2015
Another great story about Gareth and Gwen.

This one was great. So many twists and turns before you get to the end.
Can't wait until the next one to see where we go from here.
Author 8 books
July 15, 2016
A series that reminds me of the Hugh de Singleton series, and Gwen and Gareth are just as good.
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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