Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Apothecary Rose by Candace Robb

Good morning, everyone! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Candace Robb's Owen Archer series. This tour is in honor of the latest releases in the series, Guilt of Innocents and A Vigil of Spies. As such, I'll be featuring a few titles on this tour but today is the series debut, Apothecary Rose.

There is also a tour wide giveaway that will run for the duration of the tour. You can enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Two soldiers are dead in York and Owen Archer has been tasked with finding out why. 

The first soldier was on pilgrimage to York. Identifying himself only as a pilgrim, he befriends the local Infirmarian who recognizes that the man is suffering from camp fever. But just a few hours after being dosed with a pysick that should help, the pilgrim has died. A few days later, another soldier also suffering from camp fever dies of the same symptoms. The Abbott believes the deaths to be of natural causes and the Archdeacon agrees, claiming his Summoner would know if there were anything untoward about the deaths. 

And all might have been forgotten except for the fact that the the second man was the ward of the Achbishop. 

So here we meet Owen Archer, a skilled archer who loses an eye in battle and must find another way to be useful. The Duke of Lancaster made Owen his spy but two years later has died, leaving Owen a bit of a free agent. Thankfully, in steps the Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York, a much preferable employer to Lancaster's heir.  

Now we, the readers, know before Owen sets out that there is something fishy going on. The Infirmarian himself knows the deaths are unnatural and that the local apothecary is responsible. But, as we are told in the prologue, Wulfstan believes the deaths to be accidental and would protect the apothecary rather than alert anyone to the fact that the pysick was poison.

We also know that there was something sour between the pilgrim and the apothecary, though we don't quite know what. And we know the Archdeacon may have ulterior motives in claiming the deaths were accidental as well.

It might seem like we know quite a bit going into this mystery, but really we don't. We don't know the motive, we don't know the characters' varying back stories that led to where they are today. We don't even know if this was an intentional murder and, if it was, we may think we know who the killer is but we could very well be wrong.

You've seen Candace's work here on the blog before but likely didn't know it because she also writes as Emma Campion. And while her Campion titles are also historically focused, the difference is that as Robb she's writing mysteries. In her bio on her website she says Emma explores the actual historical characters who are secondary in the Robb titles.

Robb's focus on detail is quite admirable. Her setting and the characters are authentic (as they should be for someone with her impressive educational background) and the history is well incorporated. Robb includes a detailed Author's Note that outlines a lot of information about the time and setting. It's definitely worth the read (don't skip the Author's Notes!!!).

If you're intrigued by The Apothecary Rose, it is out now as an ebook from Diversion Books. As I mentioned above, I'll be featuring a few more titles in the series here on the blog, so be sure to check those out, too. (Book 3, The Nun's Tale, 10/14 and book 5, The Riddle of Saint Leonard's, on 10/19.)

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here

For more on Candace Robb you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Goodreads.


1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

It's been a while since I've read good historical mystery - this sounds like a great one to pick up!

Thanks for being a part of the tour.