Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: the Heretics by Rory Clements

If you've been following me for a while, you might remember Franklin's review of "Death of Kings" by Bernard Cornwell. Well, today I'm excited to be hosting Franklin as a guest blogger once again! Lyndsey from Hodder and Soughton was so kind as to send us a copy of it, and it seems like Franklin loved it, so enjoy! Title: The Heretics

Author: Rory Clements


Who Should Read It?
This book should be read by anyone that is interested in Elizabethan politics and religious intrigue of 16th century England. Any fan of C. J. Sansom, the author of the “Shardlake” series, or Rory Clements would thoroughly enjoy the 5th installment of the Shakespeare series.

What I (Franklin) Have to Say:
“The Heretics” is the fifth book in the series by Rory Clements. The series is centered around John Shakespeare, an intelligencer in the employ of the Queen’s secret service that was established by Sir Francis Walsingham and passed to Sir Robert Cecil, and he is the brother of the famous William Shakespeare. Not only is England at war with Spain, the Protestant Church is continuing to struggle with, and attempt to extinguish the Catholic Church in England. Consequently, The Queen has to fear both an invasion from the Spanish and the constant threats against her life from staunch ardents of the Catholic faith. John Shakespeare is asked by Queen Elizabeth to find a young lady that has suffered the ritual of exorcism by priests. At the same time he has to investigate a possible threat to the Queen that is revealed in a letter that is discovered on a deceased merchant seaman. He will soon discover that the two cases are related via the Catholic Church. Throughout the book, and the series, the reader will get a glimpse at the great animosity that took place between the Protestants and the Catholics in 16th century England, very often leading to the loss of life.
In “The Heretics”, as well as in the prior four books in the Shakespeare series, Rory Clements brings to life the world of Queen Elizabeth’s 16th century England. He describes in detail the misery of being placed in jail at Newgate prison. The reader will understand the threat of being tortured in order to extract information from a suspect and then being brought to Tyburn to be hanged. Furthermore, he describes the effects that the plague had on everyone that resided in London. Not only where there constant political struggles for the throne and who will be the successor to Queen Elizabeth, but there were passionate struggles between the Protestants and Catholics.
“The Heretics” is easy to read, and the use of old English terms in the dialog and descriptions of the locations in 16th century London are interesting and piqué an interest in wanting to understand more about this time in history. This is another well done book by Rory Clements.

The Spanish make a quick raid in Cronwall, England. Are the Spanish planning an invation of England or is something else taking place? Sir Robert Cecil wants answers for the Queen. John Shakespeare is tasked with finding the answers, but his network of spies is murdered. Will he find the answers in Wisbech Castle? The playhouses of London? Newgate prison? Will Shakespeare be able to solve the mystery in time to save the Queen?

Cover Story:
“The Heretics” – are they the Catholics or are they the Protestants? Thanks so much, Franklin! And thanks so much to Lyndsey as well, for sending the book this way! :-)

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