From Rory Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, comes The Heretics, the fifth in his acclaimed John Shakespeare Elizabethan mystery series. 'Does for Elizabeth's reign what C. J. Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday Times.
England may have survived the Armada threat of 1588, but when Spanish galleys land troops in Cornwall on a lightning raid seven years later, is it a dry-run for a new invasion? Or is there, perhaps, a more sinister motive? The Queen is speechless with rage. But as intelligencer John Shakespeare tries to get a grip on events, one by one his network of spies is horribly murdered.
What has all this to do with Thomasyn Jade, a girl driven to the edge of madness by the foul rituals of exorcism? And what is the link to a group of priests held prisoner in bleak Wisbech Castle?
From the pain-wracked torture rooms of the Inquisition in Seville to the marshy wastes of fenland, from the wild coasts of Cornwall to the sweat and sawdust of the Elizabethan playhouses, and from the condemned cell at Newgate to the devilish fantasies of a fanatic, The Heretics builds to a terrifying climax that threatens the life of the Queen herself.
©2012 Rory Clements (P)2013 John Murray Press
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"Who did it"
Not a bad read but not a brilliant one either. At times it feels like the author is spoon feeding you with super runny food thats not easy to swallow. Yet at other times he tends to go off on a tangent which leaves you dangling in midair until the relevancy becomes clear.
A real who did it story that on occasions left you wondering "well who are they talking about" as characters seemed to drift in and out.
Gareths performance was clear and pleasant to listen to.
I would listen to the Heretics again, really enjoyed the plot and the narrator, interpretation
its like the Ken Follet books,
I would recommend this one. Very well narrated.
All of it. Excellent story.
I do not have a favourite
If I had the time. Yes.
"CJ Sansome this is NOT"
That I had seen it described as being like CJ Sansome whose books I very much enjoy. This is a highly flattering comparison to say the least. Sansome is nuanced, compassionate, deeply researched and detailed, Clements is like a cardboard cut out to the real thing. There is a lack of atmospheric detail required to make the time real to us and a lack of depth to the characters.
Instead of presenting a balanced view of the religious differences and atrocities of the time, the book seethes with anti-Catholic sentiment - so much so that it overwhelms the plot. It is hard not to feel that these are views held by the writer as well as his characters. Partly because most of the Catholic characters are conniving, bigoted and unsympathetic. Whereas the Protestants are strong, principled and upright, for the most part. This apparent bias prevents the reader from fully understanding this very important divide and how it came about. Henry VIII was a selfish and divisive monarch. They way he treated his wives fell on his daughters. This was a man who tore apart England for his own personal insecurities, fears and to some extent lusts - there is a modern consensus that it had little to do with religious conviction. It is also true that there were existing movements throughout Europe towards Protestantism due to the far reaching abuses of the Catholic Church which we still see in aspects of the church today. However, there were atrocities on all sides throughout history - as eloquently expressed by CJ Sansome - due to the similar focus of the two writers it is impossible not to make comparisons which reflect ill on Clements work.
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