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By Simon Beaufort

Im Jahre 1101 kehrt Sir Geoffrey Mappestone aus Jerusalem nach England zurück. Doch auch hier kann er sich nicht von den Gräueln des Kreuzzuges erholen. Niemand hat mit seiner Rückkehr gerechnet, und so heißt guy ihn nicht eben herzlich willkommen. Zudem liegt sein Vater im Sterben. Er behauptet, von den eigenen Kindern vergiftet worden zu sein, used to be niemand glaubt, bis er eines Morgens tot aufgefunden wird: erstochen mit Geoffreys Messer.

Auch von außen droht Gefahr: Der Earl of Shrewsbury und der Waliser Rhodri of Llan Martin strecken ihre gierigen Hände nach dem Besitz der Mappestones aus. Wieder einmal muss Geoffrey sich als Detektiv betätigen - und stößt bald auf eine Intrige, die bis zum Königshof reicht ...

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In war," Arthur Greenwood tells the Labour Party Conference at Bournemouth, "there is no such thing as equality of sacrifice. " It is not the elderly politicians, but the young soldiers, whose blood is shed for the crass blunders made by the Old Men during the lost years in which peace might still have been guaranteed. Youth, and at present youth only, 28 ENGLAND'S HOUR pays the price of such a conflict as this. Only when the summer is well advanced will civilian groups who have not, hitherto, met the direct cost of war, contribute their quota of casualties—the men past their prime, the wives and mothers, the children born through no fault of their own into a grievous era of peril and pain.

ENGLAND'S HOUR ALL OVER EUROPE the Blitzkrieg is now at its height, destroying cities, towns, villages, and works of art which the men and women of the past created with infinite care; killing with bombs and machine-guns the men and women of to-day who would have been creators in their turn. In London, barricades and heaps of sandbags are everywhere; barbed-wire entanglements and machine-gun emplacements transform familiar streets dominated for centuries by peace and prosperity. Occasional visits to the New Forest and the deceptive peace of the lovely spring countryside convey to us by comparison the extremity of the tension in London.

As the harsh days slowly grow longer, my author friend writes me from the country that she is working with numb fingers in a room where, in spite of the fire, there is ice inside the windows. "It is still bitterly cold here," she reports. " All over Britain, the poorly protected pipes freeze and burst, and the population shivers beside its small fires of rationed coal. The 21st of January is the coldest day ever recorded in England. On the 24th, the temperature is 5 below zero in the Malvern hills, and Richard's school is snow-bound.

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