By Edward Marston

Christmas, 1669. within the grip of the coldest iciness for years, the River Thames is frozen from financial institution to financial institution and London celebrates with a conventional frost reasonable hung on its wide again. Revellers come from all over to benefit from the spectacle. one of the throng is formidable younger architect Christopher Redmayne. by accident he meets a very good pal, Constable Jonathan Bale, attending together with his relations. because the adults speak, Bale’s sons skate round them. yet their aggressive nature spells difficulty onto skinny ice and is at risk of crashing into the freezing water lower than. Christopher and Jonathan store the boy yet make a chilling discovery – the frozen corpse of a unadorned guy embedded within the ice. Bale vows to enquire yet Christopher sees no cause to contain himself extra until eventually his personal brother Henry is accused of the homicide and thrown in detention center. Now Henry faces execution if Christopher can't turn out his innocence. The architect needs to hazard all he holds pricey, either professionally and for my part, to discover the reality.

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The same question, but with much more subtle shading, is treated in an earlier story, that of the entirely fictional Empress Crescentia. She intervenes with a duke on behalf of a guilty seneschal whose false witness 24 Introduction had caused the duke to order her drowned for the murder of the duke’s son. The duke had never known her imperial identity when he had entrusted his son to her care, and when she appears again the duke does not even recognize her as the woman he had ordered executed.

The only inference to be drawn from the abrupt breaking-off of the work that does not do violence to considerations of time and the author’s attitude toward recording events is, unhappily, of no help in telling us anything about him: that, at the point in question, our monk was puzzling over how to proceed with his account of the Second Crusade, and probably putting off its writing from day to day, when death or some sudden force of circumstances kept him from returning to his work. 2. Patronage Although there is neither a dedication nor mention of a patron in the Book of Emperors, a figure of some wealth or authority must be assumed to have stood behind its writing—unless the author himself were a spiritual lord of high degree, which cannot be ruled out, but which his anonymity speaks against.

At the end of the story, the words of Jesus about the destruction of Jerusalem are cited at length just before the (unhistorically early) Roman destruction of Jerusalem (690-764; 875-896). Still, his general statement that “the spirit of severity tinged by the genius of the Old Testament prevails almost everywhere” is on target. Ibid. The Value of the Book of Emperors 25 Thus with wise council did the King rule the Empire. He proclaimed a peace of God: for highway robbery the noose was the sentence, for murder the wheel—hai!

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