As the old saying goes Remember, Remember the Fifth of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. In the present day come November 5th we all look forward to a firework display and a bonfire on which to burn the effigy of someone called Guy Fawkes while enjoying a roast potato, some of mum's parkin and cinder toffee. But who is the man called Guy Fawkes and what did he do that was so bad that we have to burn him every `Bonfire Night.'
Guy Fawkes was born in the city of York, less than 20 miles from where I live. He has always been attributed with the leadership of a group of men who plotted to blow up the Houses of parliament on November 5th 1605. Their motives were both political and religious. Even today many such similar deeds are carried out or attempted in the name of one religion or another. A damning indication that man very rarely learns from his mistakes.
Antonia Fraser is an accomplished and much read historical author with many awards for her writing skills and she has the consummate skill to be able to make the book read like a modern day detective novel, yet in no way prejudicing the factual historical content of the events that led up to the plot being foiled literally at the last moment.
on 2 August 1998
Antonia Fraser is an excellent writer and this is just another example of her amazing ability to write in such a way that hooks her readers and pulls them into the story she so adeptly tells. "Faith and Treason" is just another exapmle of her masterful telling of British History. Every time I read one of her books, I wish that she had written the history books I read in school.
This books tells the tale of a group of men who tired of waiting for religious freedom and decided to take matters into their own hands. They plotted to blow up the Parliament building, with the Parliamanet and King James I inside, in a rather dramatic attempt to regain the right to practice their religion, presumably at the expense of no longer permitting Protestants to do so. Fraser examines the plot from start to finish, tracing it back to the beginning of the Reformation and the frustration Catholics felt throughout the reign of Elizabeth I.
Fraser packs her book with facts, m! aking it a little slow-going at times, but it's worth it. It's probably not something you'll read in an afternoon, but it will captivate from the start.