The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

T I T L E: The Service of the Dead
S E R I E S:  Kate Clifford(Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Candace Robb
P U B L I S H E R: Pegasus Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 2, 2016
I S B N: 9781681771274
Historical Mysteries

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses. But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Kate Clifford is a strong and bold female protagonist who struggles to maintain an independent lifestyle at a time when options for women were either rare or nonexistent. Her brother is constantly trying to get her to remarry. She grew up on the northern border of England near Scotland where her family was involved in a blood feud with a Scottish family. Growing up under those circumstances, Kate developed skill with a bow and a dagger. She always has her two wolfhounds with her and they are no docile pups.

     Though this era is fraught with political intrigue, it does not take center stage in this story. The author does a great job of melding historical facts with fiction in this story. As well as incorporating family drama with the politics of the time. I look forward to seeing where the author will take this series.
     Kate's household also has some interesting characters. Her cook has a violent past, there is a thief that is generous, a servant with a wicked smile, and two charges that are bastards. Kate Clifford brings together a household in a time when England was filled with strife and struggle.
     I am quite eager for the next novel in this series and what adventures it will bring for Kate.