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The Rebel Heart: Henry Gresham and the Earl of Essex (The Henry Gresham Series Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Martin Stephen
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 384 pages
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Book Description

It is 1598, and Elizabeth I is growing old. Her Court shivers with intrigue as to who will claim the throne when she dies. Will the Spanish attempt to invade once more, will Scotland’s King James take the crown – or will the Queen’s favourite, the upstart Earl of Essex, prove a surprise successor?

One man who has inside knowledge of Court is the young Henry Gresham. Commanded by Robert Cecil to deliver a mysterious letter to Scotland, and ever watchful of the Earl of Essex’s increasingly erratic behaviour, he soon becomes swept up in a battle for power that takes him to all corners of the British Isles, and dangerously close to death.

‘Henry Gresham is a hero for all seasons.’ Val McDermid

‘Martin Stephen writes utterly gripping novels…swashbuckling action, a very endearing hero in Sir Henry Gresham, and also a marvellous evocation of the yells and smells of seventeenth-century England.’ Jilly Cooper

‘A rollicking tale of passion, treachery and derring-do – and the history is impeccable.’ John Clare, Daily Telegraph

‘[an] intricate and exciting page-turner of a novel... Henry Gresham is a wonderful creation and so authentic of his time...[he] moves among the highest but is equally likely to be found in the alleys and rookeries of London – environments described believably, graphically and appealingly to all the senses; certainly London came alive for me... I will look forward enthusiastically to Gresham’s next outing.’ Historical Novels Review

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Product Description


Intrigue, high-life and low-life are brilliantly interwoven . . . the historical details are utterly convincing (Lawrence James)

Stephen has a good feel for the momentary decisions that can help to shape the course of history - as well, of course, as the cowardice, vainglory and greed (THE TIMES)

A terrific book (SPECTATOR)

Henry Gresham is a hero for all seasons (Val McDermid)

Book Description

The fourth novel in the series featuring Henry Gresham, gentleman spy.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1611 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Peach Publishing (18 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A9VGF72
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #259,488 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Setting But Fails to Grip 11 Jun. 2007
The Rebel Heart is the latest adventure by Martin Stephen featuring nobleman Henry Gresham. Having started the series in Jacobean in England with 'The Desperate Remedy' and continued in that period with the second in the series, 'The Conscience of the King', Stephen took the unusual step of jumping back in time with the third book and picking up the adventures of a younger Gresham at the time of the Spanish Armada in 'The Galleons Grave'. This latest book follows on immediately from its predecessor, and finds the still young Gresham at the fag end of Elizabeth I's rule.

As such he is caught up the real life turmoil that accompanied the end of her reign. With the issue of the succession still unresolved a lengthy struggle for future dominance began years prior to her death, with the Earl of Essex on one side and King James of Scotland on another. Circling around these two were any number of interested parties, including the Catholic church in Rome & Henry Cecil, the Queen's machiavellian spy master.

As a result of links with both Cecil and Essex, Gresham find himself thrust into the middle of events beyond his control but that could yet kill him. Swept along by the tide of history he finds himself travelling from Scotland to Ireland to London, all the time trying both to protect himself and those he holds dear and keep the crown safe.

For many fans of the series thus far this should be a another satisfying tale set during a period of history that many are unfamiliar with. Although many will have heard of the Earl of Essex, few readers will necessary understand his importance as a figure in the later stages of Elizabeth's reign.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read 22 Dec. 2006
This excellent and very readable volume is the latest addition to the popular Henry Gresham series of books.It is an historical thriller at its best! With tales of intrigue, political corruption and royal scandals(yes, it was happening then too!), it provides the reader with a gripping and most entertaining read.

The story is set in 1598 at a time when controversy surrounds who will succeed Elizabeth 1 on the throne of England. Will it be James 1 of Scotland or the Earl of Wessex - of course we now know the answer, however one of the few to have had an inclination then, was Gresham - a gentleman spy who risked death as he became entangled in the battle for power as he travelled throughout the British Isles on a secret and dangerous mission.

If you are like me and enjoy the Bernard Cornwall titles, you will certainly enjoy this publication and the other titles in the series too.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love, Essex and Magic 31 Aug. 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Fourth instalment of the historical adventure series featuring Henry Gresham, Elizabethan super-spy with a rather Forrest Gump like ability of being present at pivotal moments of the age.

This book is a sequel to book 3 and prequel to books 1 and 2, but it is pretty much self contained. Its background is the succession of power as Elizabeth the First's long reign draws to a close, with the Earl of Essex's machinations occupying centre stage.

Essex is shown as a charismatic but deeply flawed character, with as strong a suggestion as is possible without entering the realm of the fantastic, that he is in league with the Devil.

Gresham's romance with his youthful ward, which to be fair the author does admit is a bit too close to him having an affair with a daughter, and does feel slightly creepy, provides the love interest. I assume the "Rebel Heart" of the title refers to this convention-busting love, certainly Essex never makes his mind up of his own position fully enough to be described as a rebel.

Occassionally the narrator and/or Gresham (the two are not always fully delininated)lapse into language that seems too modern ("slow motion";"mover and shaker") but the historical accuracy of the events described is clear.

A minor irritant is the constant description of Gresham, by the author's narrative voice and by the character of Gresham himself, as selfish. This seems to be his defining aspect, as described.The problem with this is Sir Henry is clearly anything but selfish, even going as far as to risk his life leaping into the Thames to rescue a random, ungrateful urchin.

A fast paced and entertaining read, the denouement is bogged down by too much exposition, not helped by two of the main characters giving different explanations for the preceding events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Must Read from Martin Stephen 12 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read with anticipation the next story in the Henry Gresham series, to follow Galleons Grave, and was not disappointed. I give it top rating! The command of excellent English and the flow of the tale has given me hours of pleasure - I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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