The Altarpiece-Sarah Kennedy

The Altarpiece
Sarah Kennedy
Knox Robinson Publishing, Mar 6 2013, $27.99
ISBN: 9781908483478

In 1535 King Henry VIII sends soldiers to enforce the schism between England and Rome. His agents viciously destroy priories, churches and most remnants of the Catholic Church as the Church of England with the monarch as the Supreme Head has become the official religion of the kingdom. Priests, nuns and monks are tossed brutally onto the streets.

Lord Robert Overton arrives at the Priory of Mount Grace in Havenston, Yorkshire to claim his new property gifted to him by the king. However, he delays kicking the religious occupants out of their home when his younger brother William becomes seriously ill. Instead he orders a nun Catherine Havens the healer to save his sibling’s life. When William recovers, he and Catherine search for the missing valuable altarpiece that vanished at the same time as the siblings arrived at the priory; the prime suspects are the healer and her best friend Ann. Catherine and her former patient also investigate strange deaths that may be related to the Altarpiece.

The first Cross and the Crown Tudor thriller provides a deep look at the deaths, destruction and disarray caused by the shutting down of the Roman Church and the creation of the Church of England. The key cast is solid especially Catherine who faces moral dilemmas as she must choose between her past and an uncertain future. The leisurely-paced storyline enables the reader to believe we are there as Sarah Kennedy provides a wonderful spotlight on an age of deadly confusion.

Harriet Klausner

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