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Martyr
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Martyr (John Shakespeare 1) For fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris, MARTYR is the third in chronological order of Rory Clements' acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, 'does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday Times

About the Author

Author Rory Clements has had a long and successful newspaper career including being Features Editor and Associate Editor of Today, Editor of the Daily Mail s Good Health Pages and, most recently, Editor of the health section at the Evening Standard He is now writing full-time in an idyllic corner of Norfolk.'I have a healthy obsession with the 16th century, says Clements. I love the world as it then was, the characters, the conspiracies and the extraordinary resolve of people who were willing to cast themselves adrift into uncharted oceans with no way of knowing whether they would ever return. I wanted to explore, too, the contrast between the barbarity of men like the licensed sadist Richard Topcliffe and the humanity of William Shakespeare, the glitter and glamour of Elizabeth s court and the squalor of the streets. So different and yet so similar to the world we now inhabit with its religious tensions and great movements of people.'

Reviews

In this novel rich with historical detail, a relative of Queen Elizabeth's is murdered, and William Shakespeare's investigator brother, John, must solve the case as well as foil a plot to assassinate Sir Francis Drake. Audie Award winner Simon Vance (see Behind the Mike, LJ 11/15/08) dexterously portrays the broad range of highbrow and lowbrow characters. For fans of mysteries and historical novels set in Elizabethan England. [The Bantam hc was recommended "for readers who liked Marie Brennan's historical fantasy Midnight Never Comes...or Karen Harper's 'Poyson Garden' mystery series," LJ 5/15/09.-Ed.]-J. Sara Paulk, Fitzgerald-Ben Hill Cty. Lib., Fitzgerald, GA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

A colourful history lesson...leavened by exciting narrative twists - The Sunday TelegraphThe joy of this book is the way it interweaves commonly known history with the story. The atmosphere and attention to detail will commend this book to devotees of the period - CrimesquadAn engrossing thriller - Washington PostBeautifully done . . . alive and tremendously engrossing - Daily TelegraphEnjoyable, bloody and brutish - GuardianAn excellent debut - Publishers WeeklyCaptivates and carries one along through the strength of its plot and its intelligent main character - Dallas Morning NewsSharp and challenging, this book is missed at one's peril - Oxford Times

William Shakespeare's older brother, John, plays sleuth in Clements's excellent debut, billed as an Elizabethan thriller. While Queen Elizabeth hesitates to sign the death warrant for Mary, Queen of Scots, her spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, fears the Spanish have sent an assassin to England to kill the country's greatest naval hero, Sir Francis Drake. John, Walsingham's "assistant secretary and chief intelligencer," suspects the conspiracy against Drake may be connected with a murder John's investigating-the stabbing death of Lady Blanche Howard, whose mutilated corpse was found in a burning London building. His inquiries put him at odds with Richard Topcliffe, a fanatical servant of the queen known for his taste for torture and anti-Catholic zeal, who threatens to expose John's father's secret Catholic sympathies. The characters, action and period detail are all solid, though some may wish the end notes had provided information on the historical John Shakespeare.Å(May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-This complicated, dark mystery reveals the Elizabethan world as a damp and smelly place, and the baser side of human life is shown throughout. The story concerns the brutal death of an aristocratic girl, the attempted assassination of Sir Francis Drake, and the search for two Jesuit priests on the loose from the Continent. The fear of impending attack from the Armada pervades the atmosphere, and there are horrific actions by both sides in the battles between British Catholics and Protestants. John Shakespeare, William's brother, is a Queen's deputy, pitted against his evil colleague, Richard Topcliffe, in the search for answers to the death of the girl, finding the priests, and thwarting any assassination attempt on the queen. Whores ply their trade, crusty sailors and ill-tempered gaolers leer in every corner, and Topcliffe tortures just about anyone he can. But Shakespeare has a strong sense of compassion, thoughtfulness, and loyalty to the queen. He's also portrayed as being more the norm for the time and place than the religious zealots, but could his nemesis be so consistently evil? While that polarity may be for the sake of a good tale, the heartbreaking circumstances of the lives at the lowest rungs of society seem historically accurate. The quality of the writing; complexity of the plot; and vivid descriptions of torture, lasciviousness, and everyday treacherousness make for a compelling tale.-Connie Williams, Kenilworth Jr. High, Petaluma, CA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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