Bone of Contention by Roberta Gellis
A Magdalene la Batarde Mystery

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Magdalene la Bâtarde obeys William of Ypres, her great patron, as a vassal obeys his overlord--even though William would have a laughing fit if he knew how she felt. However, when King Stephen summons his barons to a great council in Oxford, William can smell the stink of treason--and William has enemies who might spread that stink over him. He needs a safe place to talk to friends and cajole enemies, so he summons Magdalene. What could be less political and more innocent than visiting a favorite whore?

Magdalene knows she will find trouble in Oxford, but she doesn't expect that it will be murder or that the threat against William will come through the naming on one of his men, Niall Arvagh of Murcot, a killer. No one believes Niall would stab a man in the back, not even so gross and disgusting a creature as Aimery St. Cyr. But this is a special case. Did Niall kill St. Cyr because he claimed to be betrothed to the pretty heiress Loveday of Otmoor, whom Niall wanted for himself? Or as rumor claimed, did Niall kill on orders of his master, William of Ypres, for political reasons?

William bids Magdalene untangle the ugly mess, which makes her grateful that Sir Bellamy of Itchen has been ordered to attend the Council and will escort her to Oxford. Bell says he is willing to try to discover whether Niall is innocent--but can Magdalene trust him completely this time? A dangerous complication has arisen. Has Bell become so jealous of William that his sense of justice could be overwhelmed?

Fortunately, Magdalene still has friends in Oxford--whores and barmaids--who will bring her news and help her pick the strands of romance apart from the rope of treason and reweave them into a net to entangle a murderer.

About Roberta Gellis

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Roberta Gellis has a master's degree in medieval literature and another in bio-chemistry. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Romantic Times' Lifetime Achievement Award for Historical Fantasy and the Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
Published September 7, 2002 by Forge Books. 432 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Bone of Contention

Publishers Weekly

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Once again, Gellis proves herself a master of the medieval historical in her third outing (after 2001's A Personal Devil) to feature whorehouse mistress Magdalene la Batarde.

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Reviewing the Evidence

William's man, Sir Niall Arvagh, has been sent by William to court Loveday of Otmoor, an heiress who is ward to King Stephen.

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Magdalene La Batarde, whore mistress of the Old Priory Guesthouse which backs up on the ground of St. Mary Overy priory in Southwark is summoned to Oxford by her protector, William of Ypres.

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