In the spring of 1148, Catherine LeVendeur and her husband, Edgar, decide that Paris is too unhealthy for their young children. Edgar is undertaking a trading journey to Spain and he wishes the children and the pregnant Catherine to travel to the convent of the Paraclete, where the Abbess Heloise can care for them and keep them safe from sickness and other troubles. Edgar trusts that Catherine's mentor, Heloise, will keep his family there until it is safe to return to Paris.

Heloise is concerned for the welfare of her son, Astrolabe, and ultimately convinces Catherine to leave the children in her care and to travel to Reims, where the Pope's council will be convening. Catherine is unusually well educated for the times and speaks Latin. Thus, she will be Heloise's eyes and ears in the city and perhaps learn the whereabouts of Astrolabe.

This is the eighth book in the adventures of the delightful Catherine. The author transports us to medieval France with her meticulous research and her storytelling craft. The readers learns the history of the tumultuous times while being entertained by a unique cast of characters. I did miss Edgar and Solomon, both absent throughout much of the novel. However, Catherine and her companions more than made up for their absence. An outstanding series, not to be missed by historical fiction lovers. (Dec., 351 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Lorraine Gelly