The Apothecary Rose is the first Owen Archer mystery by Candace Robb.
The year is 1363. Owen Archer, the Welsh former Captain of Archers to the recently deceased Duke of Lancaster has been employed by John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York, as a favour to his dead friend. Owen lost an eye whilst on campaign in France, changing his life overnight, and so now he seeks a new occupation. But how will he fare as a spy?
His first mission sees him sent to York to investigate a series of mysterious deaths and the only thread linking them: Nicholas Wilton, a Master Apothecary in the cathedral city. Only he has also fallen gravely ill.
Getting himself the position of apprentice at the apothecary in question, Owen must unravel the complicated web that has wrapped itself around this mystery if he’s to uncover the truth. However, learning the craft of the apothecary from Lucie, the Master Apothecary’s young, beautiful wife as her husband is kept to his sick bed, Owen acknowledges to his horror, that she is perhaps foremost amongst the suspects…And as the number of deaths continue to increase, so do his suspicions…
This is another series that I love and am re-reading :-)
The Apothecary Rose is a captivating a novel, and the perfect first book in a series. I love many of the main characters…Owen, Lucie, Bess Merchet, Magda Digby, Brother Wulfstan…they have depth and complexity, and their interactions bring the tale to life, adding richness and colour to an already enthralling read.
The descriptions of the people and places of the fourteenth century are fascinating and vivid, not to mention historically detailed and accurate. The storyline is gripping and the further into the book I got, the harder I found it to put down.
I am looking forward to re-reading the second book in the series, The Lady Chapel. This is another great historical mystery series that I can’t recommend highly enough. If the Middle Ages interest you or if you simply enjoy good, well-written historical fiction, you really should give these books a read. I love them.