I enjoyed this and the previous book in the series more than I did the first book, "The Queen's Man." Part of that might have been because I had just finished Penman's trilogy dealing with Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and was loathe to leave that world. However, I also liked it even more than the second book, "Cruel as the Grave." On the other hand, if this isn't rated higher it's because it suffers in comparison to both other historical mysteries and Penman's straight historical fiction. I love her "Sunne in Splendor" and "Here Be Dragons" and this just isn't in the same category. Penman even confessed in an author's note that she wasn't at first very comfortable with pure fiction with created characters and I think it shows in particular in the first two books in this series. I felt as if she had just hit her stride in this book. I do like her protagonist detective, Justin de Quincy "the Queen's Man." And this is mostly set in Wales which seems to bring out something special in Penman. But I thought the solution to the first two books far too predictable--again something I thought improved in this book--and I did enjoy all three.