Description from goodreads:
Set in lavishly described medieval England and France, The Canterbury Papers is an enthralling and suspenseful debut novel combining dark family secrets, duplicity, and a missing heir to the throne.
The wily Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of France and then of England, sends her former ward, Alaïs, the sister of the king of France, to retrieve a cache of letters hidden in Canterbury Cathedral. Letters that, in the wrong hands, could bring down the English king. In return, Eleanor promises to reveal a long-held and dangerous secret involving Alaïs -- a bargain the French princess is powerless to resist.
Before Alaïs can complete her mission, she is abducted, an event that sets in motion a dangerous plot. It will require all of Alaïs's considerable strengths, along with help from the very intriguing leader of the Knights Templar, to unravel dark secrets, unmask evil villains, and escape with her life.
When I was in college, it was a well known fact that I am not a fan of medieval history. However, through recent viewings of Simon Schama's A History of Britain (the best documentary series ever, imo), I have found I am fascinated by Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. As The Canterbury Papers is set during that time period, I decided to borrow the book from the library.
Alaïs is a French princess who had been pledged to marry Henry and Eleanor's son Richard. She had grown up in the English court. The Canterbury Tales takes place years after her childhood, at the opening of the book, she is a mature woman living at the court of her brother King Philippe of France. She is asked, by Eleanor, to travel to Canterbury to retrieve letters Eleanor sent to Thomas a Becket years earlier. In return for these letters, Eleanor promises to tell Alaïs the truth about her past.
Alaïs' journey is a tale of intrigue, which kept me guessing until the very end. The true allegiances of many characters were not revealed until the end. I often found myself wondering aloud what would happen next.
The Canterbury Papers is subtitled a novel of suspense, I found it to be a novel which kept me guessing until the very end.