THE CHANGELING is the first of four novels in the ORDER OF DARKNESS series. It concerns a shadowy order of church authorities who are dedicated to finding the darkest most blasphemous things in the world, in order to report back to the church in Rome. Set in 1460s Italy, the quirky cast of characters includes a suspicious priest, a young man accused of heresy (forced into the inquirer role in order to redeem himself,) a clown of a squire, an outlawed noblewoman, and her friend, a saracen woman with formidable fighting abilities.

Naturally, they have adventures.  The first includes a chilling act of revenge when the women of the convent conspire to murder one of their own. The second includes an encounter with a mysterious creature, a werewolf, who turns out to be a child made savage by living in the wilderness for the past several years.

If you know of a young person interested in historical novels, you should definitely get this one as it is full of Philippa Gregory’s trademark atmospheric writing and meticulous research. Four stars.