by E.R. Dillon
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432828783
Date: 20 August 2014
When Kyle Shaw interrupts an attack on a Scottish homestead, little does he realize where it will lead. After successfully killing some of the attackers and driving off others, he talks with homestead owner about the attack. Apparently, the brigands are local soldiers in disguise. Such marauder attacks by the English have become common. Kyle has now made himself a target for these soldiers.
The year is 1297 and Kyle, the Scottish Deputy of Aryshire, has just returned after an absence of six years, determined to find out what happened to his estranged father. Summoned by Sherriff Crawford, Kyle finds many things changed in the shire. The English are in firm control, and the Sherriff is relegated to minor tasks. The present Sherriff is dying and his son will inherit the office. However, until the son returns, Kyle is to act in lieu of the Sherriff.
With Scots marginalized and the English in full control, Kyle soon learns the reduced limits of his power, especially as regarding the thievery of the night marauders. Determined to perform his duties and solve the death of one young woman, he is soon faced with deaths of some of the soldiers.
He makes ample use of the apothecary John Logan, an old and trusted comrade, when investigating the cause of death of murder victims. He also makes new friends and soon learns whom he can trust. A French noblemen and sort of ambassador befriends him, and Kyle saves his life. The French are friendly to the Scots and at odds with the English.
Soon, Kyle finds links between the raids and the English soldiers, but proving it and getting action from the English overlords is almost impossible. He also seeks to learn about his father and how he died. He refuses to believe his father was traitor to the Scottish cause. Along the way, he meets and becomes enamored with a beautiful young widow. Eventually we learn Kyle's history and why he left Ayrshire.
Dillon's historical mystery provides plenty of action and enough puzzles to satisfy readers of historical mysteries. She is currently working on another mystery featuring Kyle.