The year is 1606. A woman wakes in a prison cell. She has been on the run, changing her lodging every few days but the authorities have tracked her down and taken her to the Tower of London. She is placed in solitary confinement and interrogated for her role in the Gunpowder Plot. The woman is Anne Vaux - one of several ardent, extraordinary, brave and, at times, utterly exasperating members of the Vaux family. In this superb history, award-winning author Jessie Childs explores the Catholic predicament in Elizabethan England through the eyes of a Catholic aristocratic family: the Vauxes of Harrowden Hall. Elizabeth I had criminalised Catholicism in England: for refusing to attend Anglican services her subjects faced crippling fines and imprisonment; for giving refuge to outlawed priests - the essential conduits to God's grace - they risked death. Catholics, like the Vauxes, were beleaguered on the one hand by a Papacy that branded Elizabeth a heretic and on the other by a government that saw itself fighting a war on terror. With every invasion scare and attempt on Elizabeth's life, the danger for England's Catholics grew. God's Traitors is a tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies. From clandestine chapels and side-street inns to exile communities and the corridors of power, it exposes the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Gloriana. Above all, it is a timely story of courage and frailty, repression and reaction and the terrible consequences when religion and politics collide.
Jessie Childs is an award-winning author and historian. Born in 1976, she graduated from Oxford University with a first-class degree in history. Her debut book, Henry VIII's Last Victim: The Life and Times of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, was critically acclaimed and won the 2007 Elizabeth Longford Prize for Historical Biography.
Jessie has written and reviewed for various national newspapers and magazines, including the Daily Telegraph and Literary Review.
Her second book, God's Traitors: Terror and Faith in Elizabethan England (Bodley Head, March 2014), tells the story of one Catholic family's struggle to keep the faith in Protestant England. A tale of dawn raids and daring escapes, stately homes and torture chambers, ciphers, secrets and lies, it exposes all the tensions and insecurities masked by the cult of Gloriana.
Jessie lives in London with her husband and two daughters.
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