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Martyr: An Elizabethan Thriller (Library) - IPS Clements, Rory ( Author ) May-01-2009 Compact Disc CD-ROM – 1 May 2009

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Tantor Media (1 May 2009)
  • ASIN: B009CUXHW2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Rory Clements is the bestselling author of the John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. His six acclaimed novels, Martyr, Revenger, Prince, Traitor, The Heretics and The Queen's Man, follow Elizabeth's Intelligencer, John Shakespeare, brother to the playwright William, through the dark underworld of Tudor England as he unmasks the traitors and conspirators who plot against the Queen. The seventh John Shakespeare novel, Holy Spy, is due to be published in February 2015.

Rory Clements won the Crime Writers' Association Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award in 2010 for Revenger, and has been shortlisted for CWA Awards for Martyr, Prince and The Heretics. A TV series is currently in development. Find out more at www.roryclements.co.uk

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steve D on 27 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
An assassin, sent by the Spanish, is on the streets of London, his target: Sir Francis Drake. The year is 1587, Queen Elizabeth contemplates whether or not to execute Mary Queen of Scots, and her men stalk the streets hunting Roman Catholic priests. A brutal murder (and it is quite horrific - be warned) leads Secretary Walsingham's intelligencer, John Shakespeare, into a battle against time to both stop the assassin and solve the crime.

I drew the immediate comparison with C J Sansom's Shardlake novels even before I started reading this. It's got a suitably convoluted plot, involves real people from history and uses real events as a backdrop. It's quite gruesome, but very exciting, quite amusing in places, and has lots of twists and turns. I particularly liked that it didn't end up the way I thought it was going to, which was a nice surprise. I also liked that it was written in third person. Sansom uses the first person and, as a result, he has had to come up with more and more, to be frank, ludicrous ways to get Shardlake into the situations he needs to in order to progress the story (Heartstone was particularly guilty of this). Clements, on the other hand, switches between characters, settings and events as the story requires, and it makes it fast-paced and full of suspense without tipping the balance and taking you out of the experience. In fact, in his hands, 16th century London is a scary place indeed.

For a debut novel this is top stuff. I'll definitely be checking out more of John Shakespeare's adventures.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By J. Shaw on 6 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found the opening of this novel quite irritating, relying as it did on reporting historical background, rather than revealing it gradually. However, once the plot took off, this was less noticeable and the book became genuinely interesting. I, too, wondered why Rory Clements made the central protaganist the brother of the famous Shakespeare; there appears to be no reason for the link, nor for the implied connection with Andrew Marvell. Also, the ending felt very contrived and strangely flat, which was a pity because the story had really gripped me for the last two hundred pages. I will definitely read the next one - well, I've just bought it - because it looks as though these novels could develop into something really good. Not quite up to CJ Samson's level yet though.
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71 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Andy Edwards VINE VOICE on 14 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
First things first, the publishers would have you believe that this is on a par with the Shardlake novels by CJ Sansom - well, put simply, it isn't. Having said that, once you put aside the comparisons and read it without prejudice then you will probably enjoy it. The setting in turbulent times, provides plenty of opportunity for period detail and it is clear that Clements has brough to bear all his knowledge as a historian. The result is a kind of medieval Day of the Jackal meets Jack the Ripper via Name of the Rose.

The plot and sense of time and place are excellent, and Clements delights in the gruesome, as Shakespeare pursues his serial killer/assasin, all the time trying to stay one step ahead of his rival, Richard Topville. And therein lies a problem, why create a brother for William Shakespeare, when everything else was so historically accurate? Was it merely to facilitate one unlikely setpiece late in the book, because I could see no real need for it. There are a couple of other out of place elements, which I won't specify as to do so would spoil the atory if you want to read it, but suffice to say that they appear out of place for the 16th Century.

I also felt that the ending of the book left much to be desired - there seemed to be a few false starts, as if the author wanted to bring things to a climax, but the publisher neede more, so he strung things out for 50 or so more pages. The result was several loose ends, obviously to allow for a sequel or two, and a highly manufactured resolution to Shakespeare's domestic arrangements and his love life, the latter, an aspect of his character which never seemed quite convincing.

So if this is the start of a series, it is one which will probably prosper, but the writing needs to be sharper, the plot a little pacier and the characters given more depth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E Thomas on 6 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
The year is 1587 in England, Queen Elizabeth I is on the throne. A plot to kill Sir Francis Drake has been uncovered and a high born young woman is discovered dead - her body horribly mutilated. Protestant - Catholic tensions are at an all time high with Queen Elizabeth attempting to crush and Catholics in the country attempting to practise their faith.
John Shakespeare is tasked with not only finding the killer of Lady Blanche Howard but also to ensure that Sir Francis Drake stays alive to defeat the threat of a Spanish Invasion.
This is the first book in a series of books featuring John Shakespeare and the first novel by Rory Clements that I had read.
I found that the story gripped me from start to finish with all its twists, turns, family secrets and intrigue. The novel perfectly evokes all the putrid smells and sights of Elizabethan England whilst perfectly conveying the sense of fear and threat that both the Catholics and Protestants must have felt during that period. A word of warning though, because (due to it excellent descriptions) some of the sights and descriptions of the horrific torture that many suffered during that period this book is perhaps not for the faint hearted.
I really enjoyed this 1st John Shakespeare story and will definitely be reading the other books in the series.
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