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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, compelling, true
The Noble Assassin is a wonderful tale of love and grief and political intrigue. There's so much to relish here. The narrative is gripping; the places, from the icy river-bank of the Thames to draughty palaces stuffed with suspicious and arrogant courtiers, are beautifully evoked; and the cast of historical characters have a flinty veracity that suggests scrupulous and...
Published on 8 Jan 2012 by owl music

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK story just about
I found the tale pacy at first but then it sagged somewhat. It was told as an adventure story. Could have done with more context and bulk - about the time and other figures in parallel to the main tale.
Good for teenage historical novel fans.
Published 9 months ago by TINA


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, compelling, true, 8 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
The Noble Assassin is a wonderful tale of love and grief and political intrigue. There's so much to relish here. The narrative is gripping; the places, from the icy river-bank of the Thames to draughty palaces stuffed with suspicious and arrogant courtiers, are beautifully evoked; and the cast of historical characters have a flinty veracity that suggests scrupulous and loving research, as well as a subtle and humane imagination.

However, above all this is a book to cherish for the portrayal of its central character, Lucy Russell. Trapped by circumstance, by her hopeless husband, by loss, she remains undaunted, and her struggle for freedom is compelling. Capricious, vain, generous, warm, brilliant, she is utterly believable, as is the portrayal of her intense relationship with the poet John Donne.

With crisp and poetic writing (try the first page above), and a rich sense of period, this is a moving and pacy story of hope, ambition and redemption.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Written, Provocative New Novel from an Expert Author of Historical Fiction, 5 Dec 2011
By 
Susan Solt - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
Christie Dickason's distinctive voice speaks eloquently in her fine new historical novel, The Noble Assassin. Reading along, it is such a pleasure to encounter Dickason's vibrant metaphors, stunning turns of phrase and poetic expression of insight into creature delights and inexorable disappointments as she conjures her brilliant and dynamic 17th century heroine, Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford. Author and subject are totally at one in this story of love and power, loss and longing, and murderous intrigue at the court or King James I. An experienced practitioner of the form, this go around Dickason's narrative is powered by an evocative, cinematic technique as the action regularly flashes forward and back again in a manner that is both deft and compelling as an earlier Dickason heroine, Princess Elizabeth (The King's Daughter), is woven into the gripping plot. Dickason, ever the adept storyteller, is masterful at evoking the lives and spirit of early modern England. She has a stunning (uncanny, really) sense of place. The detail and accuracy with which Dickason writes makes you believe that you are there at Whitehall Palace, walking the streets of Stuart London, punting on the Thames, sitting by the hearth at Bedford House or enjoying the gardens created by Lucy in an age gone by. As a wordsmith, this writer has an acute ear for period dialogue. Dickason's characters out of history are vivid people of the flesh, not biographical archetypes. Her Lucy Russell is a woman possessed of a superior intellect and drive: frustrated assets in a doggedly man's world. Trapped in a hapless marriage, Lucy is determined to escape her predicament and the limitations imposed on her sex. Clever and beautiful, she has the wits and charms to overcome dangerous, even deadly circumstances, as well as the wit and charm to be a formidable match to the greatest thinker of her generation - the poet, John Donne; were Lucy a man, Dickason posits, her verse would be known to the world today as equal to his. The Noble Assassin is the story of the personal agency of an extraordinary woman whose life and loves Christie Dickason consummately restores to cultural memory, inviting us to ponder tantalizing what ifs.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The novel is beautifully written and expertly researched, 22 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
I love historical fiction, particularly that set in Britain, and so was keen to read this novel, especially when I discovered that the author worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for many years - what a wonderful job, and such a chance to immerse oneself in period stories.

The novel is beautifully written and expertly researched. I particularly enjoyed reading the historical information included at the end of the book, on characters, settings and events. I found myself entirely relaxed that the author knew her facts inside out, and had crafted them carefully into an engaging, realistic tale. Lucy is a heroine whom it is impossible not to like: strong, courageous, intelligent and altogether human in her inner struggles. A vein of tragic grief provides a poignant undercurrent for the book, set up in the very first pages as Lucy contemplates suicide, and the other emotional pull which I found powerful is Lucy's fierce loyalty to her queen, and in many ways surrogate daughter, Elizabeth Stuart, The Winter Queen.

There is love in this story - between Lucy and the poet John Donne - but I'm not sure I would class this as romantic historical fiction because to me the love element was not a major part of the story. Still, it echoes through.

For me, the key strength of the book is the care that the author takes to let us into Lucy's thoughts and feelings. There is plenty of pace, but also plenty of attention given to how Lucy perceives events. I enjoy books that contain this emotional dimension, and I think that's what makes this book stand out as memorable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 27 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
Another great book from this lady haven't been able to put down since I started reading and what a twist
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2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious..., 7 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
Not my cup of tea. Honestly, I found the storyline boring, and the protagonist thoroughly unlikeable. The story was meant to follow on from an earlier book by the author, The King's Daughter, but there were inconsistencies which just drove me mad. The writing style felt like the author was trying to reel off lots of information in a hurry, and the tenses were all over the place. There was something about the way Lucy's internal monologue was written that reminded me of Philippa Gregory at her worst (think Mary QoS in The Other Queen). Sorry, just didn't like this one.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK story just about, 25 Sep 2013
By 
TINA "TamArt" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
I found the tale pacy at first but then it sagged somewhat. It was told as an adventure story. Could have done with more context and bulk - about the time and other figures in parallel to the main tale.
Good for teenage historical novel fans.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Lusty Bedford?, 27 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
This is a highly fictionalised account of a very interestng woman. If you can accept that she had designs on John Donne's body and her King's life, then it's a fun read. I don't believe either, which rather prejudices my view of the novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover, 20 May 2012
This review is from: The Noble Assassin (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by a book-club friend, although I was a little unsure about it because the paperback UK cover (close up of a female bosom and a rose) strongly implies that this is going to be a bodice-ripping romance, which is not my sort of thing at all. However, I found the writing beautiful, poetic and subtle; you have to keep your brain open while reading this one or you'll miss hinted elements of deep psychological significance. After a somewhat rushed beginning (a summary of the main character's back-story is unnecessarily crammed into the first chapter), this is a beautifully plotted narrative of suspense and conspiracy, in which Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford, becomes inexorably trapped in a tangled web partly of her own making at the court of King James I. There is romance between Lucy and the poet John Donne, but no lavishly described sex scenes, and categorically no bodice ripping.

The author clearly has a deep love and knowledge of the period, but the reader is immersed totally in Lucy's world and there is very little 'info-dumping' here.

I will definitely be reading other books by Christie Dickason as the Amazon reviews suggest they are even better than this one.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stil a great historical novelist but this one not for me, 24 Feb 2012
I came to this book with high hopes having loved all the previous ones by Christa Dickinson. Somehow this one left me cold. The story of Lucy Countess of Bedford who is out of favour and wants to be back in to make her fortune did not engage me.
On reflection i think that this is brave attempt by the author as the heroine was not a sympathetic one. But in order to make her more appealing there was too much emphasis on how awful her life had been which historically apt when told in the first person made her a difficult character to warm to. I felt that more about Elizabeth of Bohemia or the Lucy of early scenes who was racing to court to meet the new queen would have hooked me more
This book left me a bit confused or not caring enough about the characters to care about what happened to them.
A great study of intrigue and plots but did not engage me.
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The Noble Assassin
The Noble Assassin by Christie Dickason (Paperback - 24 Nov 2011)
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