The Riverwoman’s Dragon
by Candace Robb
Publication Date: October 1, 2021
Series: (Book 13 in the Owen Archer series)
Genre: Historical Mystery
When the wise woman Magda Digby is suspected of murder, Owen Archer sets out to prove her innocence in this intricately plotted medieval mystery.
May, 1375. Owen Archer returns from London to find York in chaos. While the citizens are living in terror of the pestilence which is spreading throughout the land, a new physician has arrived, whipping up fear and suspicion against traditional healers and midwives. With the backing of the new archbishop, he is especially hostile towards Magda Digby, the wise woman who has helped and healed the people of York for many years. At the same time, Magda is uneasy about the arrival of two long-lost kinsfolk. Though they say they are seeking her help, she senses a hidden agenda.
Magda’s troubles deepen when she discovers a body in the river near her home – and finds herself under suspicion of murder. Days later, fire rips through a warehouse in the city. Amongst the charred debris lies the body of a man – not burned, but stabbed in the back. Could there be a connection to the corpse in the river?
Determined to prove Magda’s innocence, Owen sets out to find answers – but the more he uncovers, the deeper the mystery becomes…
In late afternoon, with her physicks dispensed, roots and herbs gathered, Magda turned toward home. But she did not hurry. The warmth of the day enfolded her in a pleasurable caress, inviting her to stray off the path here and there in search of tender shoots she might have missed. A cluster of coltsfoot in the ruins of an old shed rewarded her. Humming to herself and absorbed in harvesting the bright plants, she did not feel the weather shift until the wind whipped her skirts about her legs as she turned back toward the forest track. A briny wind. Glancing up, she saw the canopy of trees being whipped by the gusts, though there was blue sky beyond. Clear now, but not for long.
Caw! A beady eye studied her from an overhanging branch. Caw! Caw! Raven. When Asa was a child, Raven had watched out for her. Caw! With a ruffling of feathers, the bird rose to the sky just visible through the woodland canopy. Magda quickened her pace, all temptation to step off the path in search of plants gone with the wind and the raven.
By the time Magda emerged from beneath the cover of trees into the fields before the abbey walls, clouds chased the blue westward, chilling the air. Caw! Caw! Raven tacked into the wind. Tucking the basket beneath her cloak, Magda continued to the riverbank opposite her home. One of the lads hailed her, offering to row her to the rock.
“Magda will go by foot,” she said. The tide was coming in, but it was not yet so high. “Take thyself home. Shelter from the storm.” She tucked her skirts up into her girdle and put her shoes in her basket.
She crossed over the shallow water using the smooth river stones pressed into the mud to afford a reasonably dry walkway. Once on the rocky outcrop she paused, watching Raven fight against the sharp east wind to at last alight on her dragon. Raven’s battle with the storm reminded Magda of her daughter; so Asa had ever been, fighting against the elements, against anything.
Gazing out over the water, Raven fluffed her feathers, turning one eye, then the other on the Ouse, where the storm whipped the incoming tide into a boiling surge from the sea. Caw! Caw!
“Is Asa threatened by the storm?”
Raven did not respond.
Nor did Magda sense that her daughter waited within the house. Shaking out her skirts, she took shelter in her snug home.
About the Author
I’m Candace Robb, a writer/historian engaged in creating fiction about the late middle ages with a large cast of characters with whom I enjoy spending my days. Two series, the Owen Archer mysteries and the Kate Clifford mysteries, are set in late medieval York. The Margaret Kerr trilogy is set in early 14th century Scotland, at the beginning of the Wars of Independence. Two standalone novels (published under pseudonym Emma Campion) expand on the lives of two women in the court of King Edward III who have fascinated me ever since I first encountered them in history and fiction.
I am a dreamer. Writing, gardening, walking, dancing, reading, being with friends—there’s always a dreaming element.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 18
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Tuesday, October 19
Excerpt at Books, Ramblings, and Tea
Thursday, October 21
Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, October 22
Excerpt at I’m All About Books
Tuesday, October 26
Excerpt at Books & Benches
Thursday, October 28
Interview at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Friday, October 29
Review at Coffee and Ink
Monday, November 1
Review at Passages to the Past
Enter to win a copy of The Riverwoman’s Dragon by Candace Robb! We have 1 copy available to the US and 1 to the UK.
The giveaway ends on November 1st. You must be 18 or older to enter.