BOOK REVIEW/BLOG TOUR: The Monastery Murders by E.M. Powell

Publication Date: September 27, 2018
Thomas & Mercer
Paperback & eBook; 288 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1503903241
Series: Stanton and Barling #2
Genre: Historical Mystery


Their lives are ones of quiet contemplation—and brutal murder.

Christmas Eve, 1176. Brother Maurice, monk of Fairmore Abbey, awaits the night prayer bell. But there is only silence. Cursing his fellow brother

Cuthbert’s idleness, he seeks him out—and in the darkness, finds him brutally murdered.

Summoned from London to the isolated monastery on the Yorkshire Moors, Aelred Barling, clerk to the King’s justices, and his messenger Hugo Stanton, set about investigating the horrific crime. They quickly discover that this is far from a quiet monastic house. Instead, it seethes with bitter feuds, rivalries and resentments. But no sooner do they arrive than the killer strikes again—and again.

When Barling discovers a pattern to these atrocities, it becomes apparent that the murderer’s rampage is far from over. With everyone, including the investigators, now fearing for their lives, can Barling and Stanton unmask the culprit before more blood is spilled?

My Thoughts

Six months after their first case in The King’s Justice, the mismatched duo of Aelred Barling and Hugh Stanton are sent to investigate a crime that occurred on Christmas Eve at Fairmore Abbey in Yorkshire. Both are displeased with their latest assignment for various reasons.

For Barling, this means leaving the security of the writing office, to undergo a slow gruelling journey in winter time and, the most concerning reason of all, to come face to face with a person from his past, a past he has managed successfully to forget.

Much to Hugh Stanton’s disappointment, accompanying Barling means that he will forego the remaining festivities of the season. On his own, the journey would be relatively easy, but with Barling along, who was not a good traveller, his patience would be sorely tried. To make matters worse, there is no joy to be had at journey’s end; the last place Stanton wants to be is a monastery with only men for company.

An isolated monastery, snow bound and inhabited by disgruntled men, one of whom could be a serial murderer, it doesn’t get any better than that in the suspense stakes. Knowing who to trust or believe is also a problem for Stanton and Barling. It soon becomes clear that they can only rely on each other which alters the dynamics of their relationship.

Compounding the investigation further is the knowledge that it comes under the jurisdiction of the Church and not of the King. If the murderer is caught there is no guarantee his punishment would fit the crime. A dilemma our duo must also face.

The developing rapport between Stanton and Barling was a plus too. Their working relationship is slowly developing into one of mutual respect and friendship, to the extent that Barling reveals his past to Stanton. Stanton, on the other hand, while tempted, is still reluctant to share his secrets with Barling.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first in the series. The confined setting, the multiple suspects and the anticipation of who would be next kept the suspense going and the pages turning at a fast rate. I'm eagerly awaiting Stanton and Barling's next case.

The Monastery Murders is available from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound

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 him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 22: Feature at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 24: Review at Donna's Book Blog
Saturday, October 27: Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Monday, October 29: Review at Pursuing Stacie
Tuesday, October 30: Feature at What Is That Book About
Monday, November 5: Excerpt at T's Stuff and review & excerpt at Locks, Hooks and Books
Friday, November 9: Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Thursday, November 15: Review at Hoover Book Reviews
Monday, November 19: Guest Post at Jathan & Heather
Wednesday, November 21: Review at What Cathy Read Next
Thursday, November 22: Review at Jaffa Reads Too
Monday, November 26: Review at Curling up by the Fire
Wednesday, November 28: Review at Rachael's Ramblings
Thursday, November 29: Review at Impressions In Ink
Friday, November 30: Review at A Darn Good Read
Monday, December 3: Feature at The Lit Bitch and review at Maiden of the Pages
Tuesday, December 4: Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, December 5: Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Thursday, December 6: Feature at CelticLady's Reviews
Friday, December 7: Review at Bookramblings

Giveaway (International)

During the Blog Tour 6 copies of The Monastery Murders by E.M. Powell will be given away! Please enter via the Gleam form here.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 7th. 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.


  1. Sorry I didn't know about this giveaway before. My bad!

    1. What a shame you missed it. It's not often these giveaways are international.