BOOK REVIEW/BLOG TOUR: The King's Justice by E.M. Powell

Publication Date: June 1, 2018
Thomas & Mercer
Paperback & eBook; 288 Pages
Series: Stanton and Barling #1
Genre: Historical Mystery


A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to

investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?

My Thoughts

Historical mysteries are my comfort reads and I’m always on the look out for another series to follow. After reading E.M. Powell’s first Stanton and Barling mystery, I have found one.

Set in the 12th century during the reform of the justice system by Henry II, The King's Justice takes the reader into the courts and village life of the time.

Aelred Barling is a senior clerk to the justices. He is happiest when surrounded by his books and the order required to be a clerk of the court. He willing serves Henry II, even if at times he does not enjoy it. Quiet and unassuming as he goes about his business, Barling is a tyrant when it comes to keeping the young messengers in line.

Hugo Stanton is one of the messengers to the court, who has “a fondness for ale houses and … bawdy houses” and “ … no respect for authority”. He does not share Barling’s willingness to serve the King due to a tragedy in his past and resents being called one of “the King’s men”.

Stanton and Barling are an unusual team. Although only a dozen years older than Stanton, Barling's mannerisms make him appear much older. Both have secrets in their lives, but over the course of the investigation learn to respect one another more. Stanton displays qualities that surprise Barling and the dour Barling reveals that he does have a sense of humour, if a somewhat dry one. I liked this mismatched pair.

I was also interested in how the justice system worked in this time of reform. Some of the practices were dubious with no positive outcome for the falsely accused; others made the system fairer. The lord of the manor was no longer responsible for handing out justice, which is the reason Stanton and Barling are sent to investigate the murder of the village blacksmith in Claresham.

When more murders occur, everyone in the village becomes a suspect. Our duo follow many a false lead, uncovering secrets kept by the villagers and even the lord of the manor which places them in danger, before they finally reveal the culprit.

I prefer mysteries that keep me guessing until the end and The King's Justice did that. Stanton and Barling are a credible team and I'm looking forward to their next outing.

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About the Author

E.M. Powell’s historical thriller Fifth Knight novels have been #1 Amazon and Bild bestsellers. The King’s Justice is the first novel in her new Stanton and Barling medieval murder mystery series. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers’ The Big Thrill magazine, blogs for English Historical Fiction Authors and is the social media manager for the Historical Novel Society.

Born and raised in the Republic of Ireland into the family of Michael Collins (the legendary revolutionary and founder of the Irish Free State), she now lives in North-West England with her husband, daughter and a Facebook-friendly dog.

Find out more by visiting You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, June 1 Interview at Passages to the Past | Monday, June 4 Review at Donna's Book Blog | Wednesday, June 6 Review at The Writing Desk | Thursday, June 7 Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen | Tuesday, June 12 Feature at Just One More Chapter | Wednesday, June 13 Guest Post at Jathan & Heather | Saturday, June 16 Review at Clarissa Reads it All | Friday, June 22 Review at Broken Teepee | Wednesday, June 27 Review at Hoover Book Reviews, Feature at The Lit Bitch | Monday, July 2 Interview at Reading the Past | Tuesday, July 3 Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit | Thursday, July 5 Review at Bri's Book Nook | Friday, July 6 Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots | Monday, July 9 Review at A Book Geek | Wednesday, July 11 Review at Jaffa Reads Too | Friday, July 13 Review at Bookramblings, Review at A Darn Good Read


During the Blog Tour 6 paperback copies of The King's Justice will be given away! Enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The King's Justice


  1. Thank you so much for hosting The King's Justice blog tour & for your wonderful review!

    HF Virtual Book Tours