Cover image for Ashes of the elements
Ashes of the elements
Clare, Alys.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2001.

Physical Description:
244 pages : map ; 24 cm
General Note:
"A Hawkenlye mystery"--Dustjacket.

Originally published: London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2000.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Mystery

On Order



In this, Book II of the Hawkenlye Trilogy, the Abbess Helewise takes on another strange case with her French partner, Josse d'Acquin. A lumberjack in the Wealken forest has been found dead. The locals would have it that the mythical Forest People are to blame for his violent end. But when the Abbess Helewise steps in to investigate, she thinks a supernatural solution too easy an answer. She consults her friend Josse d'Acquin, a French soldier of fortune who has helped her many a time. He, concerned about the safety of the abbey, ventures into the forest himself, only to find in this so-called haunted wood something that terrifies even him. Now the two must reconcile superstition with their better judgement.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

A well and gently written historical cozy featuring the abbess Helewise and her friend, the French knight Josse d'Acquin. Josse supports Richard the Lionheart, and Helewise admires Queen Eleanor, who founded Hawkenlye Abbey, where the novel takes place. When the body of a local ne'er-do-well is found in an ancient forest adjacent to the abbey, the sheriff dismisses it as the work of the Forest People. As Helewise worries about two young wards of the abbey who must make decisions about their futures, and Josse begins to investigate the crime in the forest, another murder occurs. When Helewise and Josse venture into the forest, a new mystery unfolds that concerns both the murders and the abbey's young charges. The relationship between the widowed abbess and the soldier of fortune is done with a firm, light touch. Its unmedieval overtones can be overlooked in the face of Helewise's elegant character and straightforward religious faith. Readers will be impatient to have this oddly matched but engaging duo back again. GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following the success of 2000's Fortune Like the Moon, British author Clare shows in this sequel why many consider her a worthy successor to Ellis Peters. One summer night in the Wealden Forest, an expertly thrown spear with a well-chiseled flint point pierces the heart of a poacher. Abbess Helewise of neighboring Hawkenlye Abbey sends for the sheriff, who dismisses the murder as the work of the "Wild People," a strange band of wanderers who come to the forest every June, according to local lore. The abbess thinks the sheriff a fool, but until the arrival of her friend, enlightened knight Sir Josse d'Acquin, she must remain content with the official version of events. Determined to discover what really happened that night, Sir Josse finds evidence that the murdered man and his cohorts had more to poach than small game, and that life in the forest and life in the abbey are not as separate as they may seem. A missing novice and a second body deepen the mystery. Sir Josse's respect for the abbess's intelligence and integrity is just one of his charms, while the struggle both characters go through to reconcile their religious convictions with the superstitions surrounding the night forest adds more than usual interest. Those expecting naughty nuns and frolicsome friars will be disappointed. Clare's intricate, satisfying plot and her wide array of well-drawn minor characters help put her at the forefront of the medieval mystery field. (Apr. 16) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved