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The King's Justice

(Stanton & Barling #1)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,486 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A murder that defies logic—and a killer still on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry vil
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Thomas & Mercer
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,486 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the first in EM Powell's medieval mystery series featuring the unlikely pairing of senior court clerk, Aelred Barling, and messenger, Hugo Stanton. In York 1176, the King's Justices are dispensing justice according to King Henry II's efforts to regularise the law across the 6 geographical circuits in England with the travelling Royal Justices. Sir Reginald Edgar, from Claresham arrives unexpectedly demanding to be allowed to hang Nicholas Lindley, a homeless beggar, the suspected murdere ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The King’s Justice is an intriguing and perplexing historical murder mystery based in England during King Henry II’s reign in 1176. Henry II is responsible for much of the current legal system in the UK, and introduced travelling Royal Justices to cover 6 geographical circuits in England, each circuit with 3 justices.

In the story, Sir Reginald Edgar arrives in York to meet the circuit court. He’s drunk, obnoxious, has no witnesses or jurors, and is seeking approval to execute a suspe
First Sentence: Pit or Punishment: Hugo Stanton couldn't tell which excited the folk of these hot, crammed streets more.

With traveling courts established by Henry II having more than enough to handle, the justices send court clerk Aelred Barling, and his young assistant Hugo Stanton, to a village outside York. Although there were no witnesses, Nicholas Lindley has been imprisoned for the murder of the village smith. The case seems certain, yet Stanton has his doubts. The prisoner escapes, more d

I have not read this author before, so this book was a blind gamble on my part, based purely on the fact that I generally enjoy historical mystery novels. Still, a book’s quality is never guaranteed. But I enjoyed this one.

The book is the first in a series, but the two protagonists – Stanton and Barling – are clearly carrying past traumas with them. At first I thought this was part of a multi-book character arc, cleverly designed to draw the readers in whilst presenting a new crime mystery in ea
I wasn't terribly impressed with this start to the Stanton and Barling historical mystery series. It's set in England during the reign of King Henry II. Barling is a well-respected clerk in the King's Court and Stanton is a young widower who works as a messenger for the court. A murder in a nearby village causes the two men to be dispatched to see that a proper investigation and judgment of law is carried out. That single murder is soon compounded and I started to think the author was going to b ...more
Diane Estrella
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I must admit, I have a penchant for medieval stories. This was a new author to me and I was grateful to find this delightful new series. I will happily be looking into book two to continue learning more about our two seemingly contrasting heroes.

This type of story reminded me of another author I like and his Hugh De Singleton’s Chronicles. These types of books have a slow but steady pace, and the plot unfolds one layer at a time. There is not any high-tech antics involved, but mindful and purpos
May 12, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The King's Justice by E.M. Powell was my choice from May's Kindle First Reads list. Quite often I don't find anything on the list that truly appeals and so I pick one that I think sounds more interesting than the others. This time though it was an easy choice since I do have a soft spot for historical mysteries and this fitted slap bang in the middle of that category.

Powell is a new author to me so although the Stanton character has appeared in another of her novels, The Blood of the Fifth Knigh
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the Fifth Knight series, i was delighted to receive a review copy of E.M. Powell's new book The King's Justice in exchange for an honest independent review.

This is the first book in a new series by E.M. Powell about Stanton & Barling and it's a move from the thriller genre to the mystery genre, but still set in King Henry II's reign as the Fifth Knight series was.

The King's Justice is set in 1176 and is based around the royal justices who travelled around t
Blair Hodgkinson
An enjoyable medieval thriller filled with interesting suspects and the fascinating weirdness of 12th century English law.
Donna Maguire

I really enjoyed this book, it was right up my street and I flew through the story.

It was really well written and I loved the characters, the writing flowed so well that I was completely immersed in the whole thing and didn't realise how much I had read only to find out when I checked that I'd nearly finished it in one sitting!

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I am so pleased to have found them! This is a great start to the new se
Mrs. Y
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, historical fiction lovers, detective stories.
Recommended to Mrs. by: Peter Donnelly from The Reading Desk
Have you ever done something new and thought “Where was this all my life? Why didn’t anyone tell me about how good this was before I found out just now?”

That’s basically how I feel after reading this new book, a treasured gift of insight from the reviewer Peter Donnelly at The Reading Desk. And just for full disclosure guys, Peter and I are in the middle of a challenge! This is the first book of that challenge, Peter told me to read this, and I told him to read a book I suggested in return. We
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The King’s Justice is not your usual historical fiction novel. It’s not about a specific historical event or famous person but rather it’s about the institution of the King’s justice. Henry II is known for many of the things he did during his reign – some of them more regrettable than others. I’m talking about oh, locking up his wife and that whole Thomas a Becket debacle. In spite of some of the worst of Henry he was also responsible for creating a system that brought the King’s justice out to ...more
Rosanne Lortz
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hugo Stanton, a messenger for King Henry II's court of justice, has been having a very bad week. Not only was he forced to witness the accidental drowning of an innocent man (during trial by ordeal), but he has also been set upon and  beaten by cutpurses. And to top it all off, he has now been dispatched as an underling to the fussy and fastidious clerk Aelred Barling to investigate the horrific murder of a village blacksmith.

The local lord is convinced that the beggar in the village gaol is res
Marsha Lambert
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The King’s Justice by E.M. Powell is a medieval mystery set during the reign of King Henry II. The main characters are Aelred Barling, clerk to the justices and Hugo Stanton, his assistant.
When a murder happens in the village of Claresham, Barling and Stanton are sent there to determine the guilt or innocence of the man being held for the crime.
Things do not progress smoothly with the investigation as more murders happen putting the investigators in danger as well as the villagers.
There is
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-m-powell
This was the first book I've read from this author. I won the ebook in a giveaway. It took me a while to get into this book. I wasn't wild about the two main characters at first. Barling was too set in his ways and a bit of a sissy, and Stanton was a surly jerk. But I came to like both of them a little more as the book went on. The mystery was good, and I was surprised at who the villan was.
I think my biggest problem is that I normally read modern day mysteries and the time this one was set in
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 🌟

I enjoyed this story and was alway eager to pick it back up. I liked Barling and Stanton although, with Stanton especially, I found that what the characters saw and what I saw as the reader didn't marry. The story is good and intriguing but I felt a bit let down by the reveal. The final few chapters are poignant and very well done. Overall a good read, just felt that the finale could have been drawn out and tied up a bit better.
Jun 18, 2018 rated it liked it
This story was right in that wild and wacky "scary as hell" time period that I love. Which made for a fairly dissatisfied read. No, this book didn't suck! But, it could have used maybe a more deft editor. Still, I would like to read more from E. M. Powell. I did enjoy this book, even though I ended up skimming through a few parts. Also, the tale itself was solid. My thanks to Thomas and Mercer, and also Netgalley for an arc for the price of a review.
Richard Myers
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

I never knew who the murderer was for sure until the end of the book. This is a story of a jurist and his messenger for the King. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. A great read and false clues abound everywhere.
Jackie Cain
I received this for free and in advance of publication, as a Amazon First book.

I wanted to like it and I thought the opening, at a trial by ordeal in York, was a good active opening. I also thought it was good when the first main focus, Stanton, is attacked - I like a bit of jeopardy. There is an interesting and complex story within the book.

However, I thought the portrayal of the two main characters was a bit clumsy and I got very fed up of being told that they had back stories that haunted th
Yeah, so I confess I have a serious weakness for Medieval Mysteries, and when this was on the Kindle First Reads programme back in April, I requested it. First time I ever have done so.
I've never read anything by this author before, though I understand she once wrote a novel surrounding the events of the murder of Thomas Becket, and two more Medieval Thrillers afterwards, so I have no experience of her work and nothing really to compare it with.

As a mystery it was very good. Lots and lots of t
Brigid Keely
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The King's Justice" is a medieval murder mystery/thriller by E. M. Powell, the first in a new series and thus a good jumping on point for people who are interested in murder mysteries/thrillers set in the medieval period. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway and this review is my own opinion.

Content Note: threatened sexual assault to more than one party, domestic violence

It's 1176 and Aelred Barling, a clerk in the traveling court of King Henry the II, is set off to a small hamlet in the mid
Tom Walsh
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abbott and Costello. Vladimir and Estragon. Watson and Holmes. These duos line the corridors of fame and opposite comic stratum. Now E.M. Powell, author of medieval thrillers THE FIFTH KNIGHT & THE BLOOD OF THE FIFTH KNIGHT & THE LORD OF IRELAND, which have both been #1 Historical Thrillers on Amazon's US and UK sites, creates a new direction in her splendid fictional oeuvre, with a new pair of opposites: Hugo Stanton and Aelred Barling. The time is 1176, six years after Henry II ordered ...more
Paul Bennett
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it

A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it become
Jun 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In King Henry II's England, justice is swift, harsh and brutal. One thing that is sure, however, is that it exists. Aelred Barling, clerk to the justices of the King, and Hugo Stanton, his assistant, are dispatched to a nearby village in order to investigate a murder accusation.

A smith has been brutally murder, and the Lord of the village, along with all its inhabitants, seems confident about the
Jud Hanson
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the era of Henry II, justice is often the result of chance and is unequally applied. The King decides to address this and appoints teams of judges to tour the kingdom and hear a variety of complaints, from issues of inheritance to murder. Aelred Barling is one of the King’s clerks and in an unusual turn of events, gets dispatched to investigate a murder, along with his assistant, Hugo Stanton. The Lord of the town is certain that the killer has already been caught and is determined to see him ...more
Kelly-Jo Sweeney
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I love historical murder mystery books, so when I spotted this on NetGalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. The opening setting of the book; a trial by ordeal in front of a crowd of baying spectators set the scene perfectly. Unfortunately, for me at least, the sense of time and place didn't quite continue to the same degree through the rest of the book. The bare bones were there, the characters were for the most part well written and complex, but for me, there was something not quite right.

This book follows a medieval detective duo, thrown together to investigate a murder in a small village in Yorkshire.

At the start, the two barely know each other and don't exactly gel. Aelred Barling is a senior clerk in Henry II's travelling justice circuit, while Hugo Stanton is a messenger for the justices. The men are very different in temperament, but each gradually comes to appreciate the skills of the other.

The central mystery of the murder of a village smith swiftly expands to become th
Cindy Woods
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good read

This novel about a 12th century murder investigation kept me reading with great interest from start to finish especially given the law of the times. King Henry II established a system of Common law and the foundation of our legal system today.

Of course, religion and politics were as one and the use of unpleasant methods to determine guilt or innocence were employed liberally causing a great many wrongful punishments. It's amazing to think these draconian measures were accepted then
Jennifer S
Dec 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The year is 1176. King Henry has begun establishing the new Rule of Law and it is in preliminary practice in zones across England. Hugo Stanton (a reluctant messenger in the King's service) and Aelred Barling (a self-important clerk in the courts) are thrown together and sent out to administer justice in a murder case in a remote town. The local blacksmith has been murdered and a homeless peasant is in jail. Although it is clear to the reader that there is no real evidence to support the lynch-m ...more
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

This was my Amazon First choice for May.

"The King's Justice" is a historical fiction which lacks atmosphere. It comes across almost like Sherlock dressed for a tacky renaissance fayre. A string of murders with a ridiculous bundle of motives, as though that might make the story clever, and a dash of sexual abuse elements for good measure. It's not that I believe sexual abuse shouldn't be in fiction, it's just it seems tossed in for "flavour" and lazy plot device purposes here.

What I will s
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E.M. Powell’s historical thriller FIFTH KNIGHT novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers.

Her new Stanton & Barling medieval murder mystery series starts with THE KING’S JUSTICE, which is due for release on June 1 2018.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in northwes

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Stanton & Barling (2 books)
  • The Monastery Murders (Stanton & Barling, #2)