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The Heretics (John Shakespeare 5)

The Heretics (John Shakespeare 5) [Kindle Edition]

Rory Clements
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Rory Clements again brings to life the dark side of Elizabethan England' (Daily Mail)

Praise for the John Shakespeare series:

'Clements can be seen as doing for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's . . . What's impressive in the latest is how much of Tudor society it crams in, from the court and Derby's estate to outlaws and the soldiers in its concluding scene'

(Sunday Times)

'There's plenty of thrills . . . the multiple plot elements are well-handled . . . there's much that's enjoyable and Clements' orchestration of the narrative is skillful' (

'The best yet in Rory Clements' magnificent series about John Shakespeare . . . As always, the historical detail is fascinating and sometimes delightfully obscure . . . another sumptuous feast that will leave you sated - but craving for the next helping! (Crimesquad)

'I found this the best book in the series' (Historical Novels Review)

'A genuine page turner, and cleverly weaves in real historical events and personalities. Fans will not be disappointed' (Eastern Daily Press)

'Intriguing . . . wonderfully graphic and descriptive. Clements richly deserves the accolade: "faster moving than C.J. Sansom' (Bookbag)

'Clements' thrilling murder mysteries are a real cut above . . . steeped in authentic 16th-century politics, the plots are complex and clever, and the characters believable and engrossing. But his greatest gift is the ability to bring to life the squalor, intrigue and perils of Tudor London and amidst it all create a superbly tense and entertaining mystery. Roll on Mr Shakespeare's Act IV' (Lancashire Evening Post)

'Blending fact with fiction Clements tells a rip-roaring yarn with vigour and energy and a huge enthusiasm for the period . . . a novel lacking neither action nor spice. An undeniably enjoyable and lively plot that gathers pace and excitement throughout. A devilishly good read' (Crime Time)

'There is a veritable cornucopia of elements to praise here . . . John Shakespeare is one of the great historical sleuths' (Barry Forshaw)

'This very well-plotted, erudite, historical mystery has many twists and turns which make for a very vivid story line. A very absorbing read with a real quality, similar in style but perhaps faster moving, than books by James Forrester or C.J. Sansom. I consider it one of the best books I've read this year. I will certainly look out for more stories by this very talented writer' (Eurocrime)

'What most impressed me was Clements' ability to set a fast-paced crime thriller in the London of 1593 and to make it entirely convincing. Clements gives life to this world, not just through years of painstaking research into all things Elizabethan - from cuisine to clothing, politics to borstals, autopsies to witchcraft - but through his use of real figures from history and the manipulation of actual events. What we end up with is a scenario that is believable, and perhaps this is what makes it such an enjoyable read. Whether intentionally or no, many of the topics dealt with in this book also still resonate today and it gives acts of terrorism, for example, a longer historical context' (Edinburgh Book Review)

'A cracking plot full of twists right up to the last minute. I look forward to the next' (Sunday Express)

'Beautifully done . . . alive and tremendously engrossing' (Daily Telegraph)

'A colourful history lesson . . . exciting narrative twists' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Enjoyable, bloody and brutish' (Guardian)

'An engrossing thriller' (Washington Post)

'An excellent debut' (Publishers Weekly)

This is a historical thriller to send a shiver down your spine . . . atmospheric - the evocation of the filth and debauchery of London is quite exceptional - it demonstrates the compelling eye for detail and character that Bernard Cornwall so memorably brought to Rifleman Sharpe. I could not tear myself away, it is that good (Daily Mail)

Compellingly readable . . . easily the equal of its predecessors (Good Book Guide)

Book Description

From Rory Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Award, comes THE HERETICS, the fifth in his acclaimed bestselling John Shakespeare Elizabethan mystery series. 'Does for Elizabeth's reign what C. J. Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday Times

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 694 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1848544332
  • Publisher: John Murray (28 Feb 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009AE46I4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,654 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I live quietly in a peaceful corner of Norfolk. My house is backed by fields of poppies and is close to a slow-moving river. Most days the most exciting thing that happens is seeing a swan or duck or muntjac deer. That's just how I like it. I get quite enough excitement in the other world I inhabit, the underworld of late 16th century conspiracy and murder.
It's all very different from the life I used to lead as a journalist on various national newspapers, but writing is what I have always wanted to do, so I'm happy. If you want to know more about me or my series of Elizabethan thrillers, have a look at my website:

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics 17 Mar 2013
By Champollion VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"The Heretics" is the latest book by Rory Clements in his sixteenth century thriller series, featuring John Shakespeare, an 'intelligencer' who works for Sir Robert Cecil, having previously been an agent for Francis Walsingham.

It is set in the 1590's, and similar to his previous novels, involves a conspiracy, against the State, but, on this occasion, it is to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. The plotters are Catholics, involving priests who manipulate young women under the guise of exorcising their 'demons.'

The author creates a vivid and authentic Tudor landscape, and the narrative is carried along with pace as John Shakespeare hunts down his quarry. Clements books are clearly well researched and expertly structured into an engaging and compelling story.

Although, as source material, the rich mine of the world of the Tudors has been explored before, Rory Clements has a distinctive voice, and an interesting character in John Shakespeare, who has developed into a more credible, assertive and ruthless individual. Recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tudor Skulduggery 10 Mar 2013
By Perfectbub VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Nowadays it is hard to imagine the vitriolic hatred between the catholic and the protestant powers which raged in 16th century Tudor England. After all, the Tudors changed the religion of the country from Catholic to Anglican, Protestant back to Catholic and then Anglican. No wonder people were confused.

The major catholic power at the time was Spain, of Armada fame, they were irked that a mere woman would defy them and they plotted to overthrow the Tudor dynasty.

Enter John Shakespeare, elder brother of the playwright William, he works within the shady world in intelligence. Working for Sir Robert Cecil (Elizabeth's Chief Minister) he has to investigate the disappearance of a young woman who was treated brutally by the Catholic Church. Her disappearance is linked to the priests and catholic martyrs who were locked up to prevent subversion.

The author has penned 4 previous Shakespeare books and they keep getting better, the atmosphere is dark and twisted. There is a genuine fear of the Spanish invading and killing anyone who is against the re-introduction of Catholicism. Although the government ostensibly were supportive of Elizabeth they, in truth, were saving their own skins as they would fall as swiftly as the Tudor Gloriana.
The scenes I enjoyed the most, were the ones where Shakespeare meets with the Queen, not the young Virginal lass who took the throne, but the older, wiser Elizabeth who is well aware of the perils that face her. She famously stated that her greatest protection was the love of her people. Hardly true as she surrounded herself with hard-working diligent men like Cecil and the fictional Shakespeare who did the dirty deeds to keep her safe.

Any quibbles? No.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics and a 6 hour train journey 9 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have waited impatiently for the next John Shakespeare and the arrival of The Heretics coincided with a 6 hour train journey - which just flew by. Not that I finished the book in those 6 hours, there is too much to savour. How does Rory Clements do it? This is the fifth substantial tome, and by now you usually feel that the author is feeling the pain of developing his characters. Not a bit of it here, they continue to develop, showing nuances you would not have expected from the earlier books and I certainly want to meet them again in the next volume, to see how they react to what else late Tudor life and society throws at them. This tells you nothing of the plot and I intend to keep it that way, except to say I shall never look at a sailmakers' needle in the same way again. Purchase. Read. Enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics-Rory Clements 13 Feb 2013
By R. Gardner VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sometimes you pick up a book that you know from the first to the last page you are going to enjoy and I found this one of them. Based around the time of William Shakespeare his brother John is an intelligencer keeping the Crown safe by using spies etc, also the Spanish are showing signs of invading the country from the south coast. It started off at a steady pace but seemed to build up slowly till so much happens after the half way mark that you have to be aware of all the characters, I found not only the pace excellent but the characters well defined as well, with some, you obviously learn more of them as the story carries on. There are a lot of people within the story and they all form an important part of the tale. I'm not going to give the story away, but, Highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tale well written...Set in the time of William Shakespeare.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By uncle barbar TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With over 6 weeks to go before its official release I was offered a chance to read an "uncorrected Proof Copy" of Heretics by the Amazon Vine Programme and, having read Clements earlier 4 novels on the exploits of John Shakespeare, I obviously jumped at the chance!

Now that I have finished it and have a chance to review it I thought I would give you my thoughts on John Shakespeare's 5th tale (without giving too much away)!

John, as usual, goes travelling out in the country attempting to find out about the latest diabolical plot to kill the queen - but he is unsure whether this one has been started in Spain or closer to home - Wisbech in Cambridgeshire or even closer to the Queen's court? He travels to Wisbech to visit the incarcerated monks there to question them and has a rather torrid journey there, he meets a Dutch man who helps him on his way. It is a vivid picture of what life was like in the wilds of the fens.

He travels to Buckinghamshire where earlier in Elizabeth's reign some rather horrific exorcisms took place by some Catholic clergy and he goes to Cornwall in search of a girl, to meet a woman (the romantic element of this book) and perhaps to thwart a Spanish invasion?

I cannot say anymore or I would give the plot away. Cecil's spy ring is shaken to the core by this book.

There are some strong willed ladies - not just in John Shakespeare's own household but also as part of the Queen's household. And of course the ever-faithful Boltfoot Cooper carries out the orders of John throughout.

John's brother Will does not have a very large part in this novel - although his players both ex and current do feature somewhat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Bordering on excellence x x
This had a shadow of weariness . . or re-affirmation?

There felt to be an earlier style evident - lack of confidence and the need to re-enforce details.

Or . Read more
Published 9 days ago by Eve Barratt
4.0 out of 5 stars First time I have read this author
I intend to purchase another in this series, it seems well written like a Sherlock Holmes story. A peek into Elizabeth I and England.
Published 18 days ago by ann tewalt
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Period
Excellent read another triumph for John Shakespeare!!
Cannot wait till No 6 is in paper back to read next series
Published 24 days ago by Anne McHenry
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistery in Elizabethan times.
Enjoying this book so far, I like the historical side to the book, you notice travel was so much harder in those days, and customs not giving people the same freedom we have... Read more
Published 27 days ago by Hope
5.0 out of 5 stars Next please !
This series never disappoints, start at the begining and you can't put it down till the last page, number 5 inthe series read them all fantastic !
Published 27 days ago by Miss Maggie Kear
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Shakespeare Adventure
Rory Clements has struck gold once again, with another great thriller set in Elizabethan England.

There is plenty going on here, with a bounty of dastardly characters... Read more
Published 1 month ago by 1fcscout
4.0 out of 5 stars Blood-soaked religious terrorism
Spain is funding another plot against Queen Elizabeth and, whilst a raid on Cornwall seems a threat, it is not followed up. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Plucked Highbrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent addition to a riveting series.
Thoroughly enjoyable with action moving from one side of southern England in rapod succession. Balances the tension with intriguing insights into Elizabethan times and particular... Read more
Published 1 month ago by AlexM
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
like all of Rory's books, they are well researched and gripping to read. I have terrible trouble putting them down.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. T. E. Wilkins
4.0 out of 5 stars Great danger and some wonderful Historical Action
The latest book in this wonderful Historical Fiction Spy Conspiracy series and one that really does take the reader back to those days of danger, intrigue and action as our... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
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