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Publisher's Summary

In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novitiate Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.

In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies.

©2013 Nancy Bilyeau (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII’s reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed.” (C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow)
“Superbly set in the political and religious turmoil between Henry VIII’s queen’s Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, The Chalice is a dark, twisty thriller that I couldn’t put down. Nancy Bilyeau’s extensive historical research makes the sense of dread, danger, and mysticism permeating this era tangible. Ex-Dominican novice Joanna Stafford is an especially compelling and sympathetic heroine—I adored her!” (Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens)
“[A] layered book of historical suspense.” ( Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about The Chalice

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Interesting . . . But LONG

The Chalice was a good listen, but could have been told much better if it were shorter. I stayed with it until the end. The narration is enjoyable, but the length found my mind wandering. I love historical fiction or I wouldn't have been able to hang in there with this one.

2 people found this helpful

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Ugh

I read The Crown (first book in the series) and was interested, so picked up the second book. I had issues with the Crown, but thought I might have been over reacting. Well, I don't think I was. More of the main character moaning about the choices she has to make, not liking them, making a choice anyway, then regretting the choice and being miserable. She has absolutely no sense and makes really horrible decisions as well. It is as if the author thought, 'hm, not sure what to do next. I'll make her do somthing really stupid and we'll see what happens.' Not a practical bone in this lead character's body. She drove me absolutely up a wall. I thought The Crown had more interesting history as well. The Chalice really drops the ball with the historical fiction part. I really enjoy learning accurate history while I read/listen (at least piquing me to look up information if I don't know anything about it) and this book really did not do that. I loved the Matthew Shardlake books from this same time period and really learned a ton about the Reformation and King Henry VIII. Try those instead.

2 people found this helpful

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Not as enjoyable as “The Crown”

I found myself becoming repeatedly annoyed at the protagonist, Johanna. I recognize that resistance to/refusal of the call is an integral part of The Hero’s Journey, but did it necessarily have to fill an entire book? I enjoyed getting to know Johanna in Book One of the trilogy, but spent most of Book Two either shaking my head or snorting in disgust as she bumbled and whined her way through to a ridiculously implausible ending.
Nevertheless, because I am an optimist I will hang in there and listen to Book Three, “The Tapestry.” Hopefully my faith in Johanna will be restored!

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Not great

I found the first book to be pretty good. Unfortunately, Joanna became a bit of a petulant whiner in this one. Not sure if it was the writing or the narrator's interpretation.