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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling piracy, religion and manhunts in Elizabethan England. Just don't call it accurate!
The author's note at the end of this tale cautions the reader against considering The Roots of Betrayal an accurate historical novel. As the author is the well-respected historian Ian Mortimer writing under the pen-name James Forrester, we'd do well to listen to him. Roots of Betrayal is out-and-out fiction, and a great piece of fiction at that.

The tale...
Published on 28 Jun. 2011 by Max

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a plod . . .
Forrester is an historian in "real" life and he does a workmanlike job with this piece of fiction set during the reign of Elizabeth 1 as William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, searches for the woman who has stolen a document that could topple Protestant Elizabeth from the English throne and set Catholic Mary Queen of Scots on it. And then the persecution of Protestants...
Published on 3 Jan. 2013 by V. Nicholl


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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Roots of Betrayal, 11 Nov. 2011
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This book is the sequal to Sacred Treason. The exciting adventure of Clarenceux the Herald where he prevented a document showing the existance of a marriage contract for Anne Boleyn existing prior to Henry Vlll choosing her as his second wife,and thus making Queen Elizabeth illegitimate, and therefor not entitled to the throne.

Having recovered it, Clarenceux is given custody of it by William Cecil. Any suporter of Queen Elizabeth in their right mind you would think would have burned it but Clarenceux hid it in his house. Now it is gone, and the only other person who knew where it was Rebecca a friend who helped him retrieve it. She also has disapeared.

Raw Carew, a Sea Captain and a bit of a pirate has been hired to transport those with the document in their hands out of the country. The story starts with his misadventure prior to their joining the ship. This gives Clarenceux a change to get a lead on the theives.

The story developes into an exciting hunt. He has some powerful and dangerous adversaries and this eventually ends with a fight for his life.

As in the previous novel the historical settings in Tudor England are accurate and realistic and gives the reader a real feal for life in those times.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three and a half stars, 28 July 2011
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Johnnybluetime - See all my reviews
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A rip roaring, swashbuckling, but largely not boddice ripping, tale of Elizabethan England.Clarenceaux must fight the Government and a band of pirates to stop a war between the Protestants and the Catholics.

This is well written and has a wealth of historical material that we can assume is correct given the author's day job. There are many colourful characters from Frances Walsingham and Lord Cecil to Raw Carew the pirate and generally speaking it rushes along with a great pace and has a central mystery in the vein of a Shardlake novel. It's not quite up to CJ Sansom's standards though,because the action takes a greater part than the mystery, which makes it less of a page turner for me as I generally found the action sequences became repetetive.My other main criticism though is that Carew is a more engaging and interesting character than Clarenceaux, which is a bit of a problem because Clarenceaux is the hero.

Overall, when I picked it up I tended to enjoy reading ten pages or so, but never felt the need to spend an evening with it. Enjoyable and worth reading if you like historical fiction,but not essential.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stalls mid way through, otherwise not bad, 17 Aug. 2011
By 
A.M.Boughey "Poetmaster" (Rochester, MN) - See all my reviews
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Lots of historical research makes this at first glance, interesting and pretty engaging from the first page.
The character development isn't bad either, although too much time is spent on the villain than the hero, but then again who doesn't like a delicious baddie.
A fairly routine plot, protestants vs. Catholics, Queen Elizabeth 1st, secret documents and a number of other twists and turns to make it interesting, or so I thought.
The trouble is (and the reason for the 3 stars) is that mid way through it kind of stalls, keeps going back over old ground, and feels a little flat.
It's not a bad book by any means, and will certainly enthrall those looking for a seaside time killer, or a few aimless thrills.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Roots of Betrayal, 13 Aug. 2011
By 
Robert Archer - See all my reviews
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`The Roots of Betrayal` by James Forrester is a real rip-roaring adventure story involving deceit, lies, robbery and murder. Right from the beginning the tale moves on relentlessly until one becomes immersed in the Elizabethan world of high politics and low skullduggery. Moving from the highest in the land to the lowest James Forrester`s novel is a swashbuckler of an adventure.
James Forrester is the pen name of the historian Ian Mortimer. In this novel the hisorical facts are lightly handled and never get in the way of the plot. The history provides a convincing backdrop to the tale whilst sometimes in the use of detail does it give greater verisimilitude. At times you feel you can smell the street or the ship.
As the title makes plain this is primarily a story of betrayal. Set in Elizabethan England the story concerns William Harley, Clarenceaux King of Arms and his search for a missing document. The document is of national importance since it is a marriage agreement between Anne Boleyn and Lord Percy. This document therefore confirms Elizabeth`s illegitimacy and consequent inability to hold the crown of Emgland. Believing it to have been stolen by Rebecca Machyn for the potential use of Catholic recusants Clarenceaux sets out to recover the document. His search takes him to the highest and the lowest in the land and on the sea, from a brothel to a palace. Wherever he goes and to whoever he speaks to Clarenceaux is constantly forced to question the person`s integrity. Time and again he is forced to confront the fact he has been betrayed and his faith in people is questioned.
Some, like Sir Wiliiam Cecil the Queen`s Principal Secretary, move in the upper echelons of society, concerning himself eith state affairs and the security of the monarch. Some are ruthless killers without any motive other than survival. One however is far more complex. Raw Carew is called a pirate by many but because of his birth he inhabits am world in-between, finding making a world of his own creation at sea. Capable of killing without compunction he also has a strong moral code independent of any religous teaching. As the story unfolds and Clarenceaux is forced to endure many physical and mental torures it is Carew in whom he can palce most faith and support.
Rebecca Machyn is a central figure in the book although her influence is more often felt than actually perceived. Believing she has betrayed him by stealing the document Clarenceaux is forced to question his faith in everyone. It is only towards the end of his quest that he discovers the truth and recovers some of his faith.
This book tells a good story. The characters are convincing and strongly delineated. As the story progresses the reader is constantly faced with the question of the nature of betrasyal and its consequences. The theme is not unique to the Elizabethan world but is universal to nations and times and to people everywhere. For Clarenceaux the search presents him with the worst and the best in all kinds of people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 3 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: The Roots of Betrayal (Clarenceux Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
brilliant
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Root around in this...it'll be worth it!!, 13 July 2011
By 
Soo Broo (UK) - See all my reviews
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Excellent. Really, really good. Once I'd read that it was written by an historian, I wondered if it might be a little dry, but it's very good indeed.

The story is an interesting one; a slightly off centre Tudor angle which takes in one or two of the well known characters from history, but doesn't feature the usual suspects. It was a real page turner from beginning to end. I loved the idea the pirate was searching for treasure he thought was golden and how the herald's story merged with his and all the clever twists and turns and plots along the way. It was - obviously - thoroughly well researched with wonderful, evocative descriptions that brought the rich characters to life as well as the dramatic battle and fight sequences and scenes of everyday life.

I really couldn't fault it. I'm not sure I entirely agree with one reviewer that you had to have read his first book; I haven't and I didn't feel I missed out, but I see that I might find something extra I suppose. Really good and well worth reading.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking historical adventure yarn, 1 July 2011
By 
Petra Bryce "bookworm" (Malvern, Worcs) - See all my reviews
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William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms is in possession of a dangerous and explosive secret document that could spark another Catholic rebellion if it fell into the wrong hands. Finding it stolen one day, he suspects his friend and ally, Rebecca Machyn, to have taken it and single-handedly sets out to retrieve it, much to his own personal cost.

This novel is set about six months after the events in Sacred Treason, and even though the plot of this novel builds on them, it is not necessary to have read the prequel as the author brings the reader up to speed from the beginning. It starts as an old-fashioned tale of adventure, involving a secret document, traitorous plots against the queen, encrypted messages, devious courtly intrigue, pirates, battles on the high seas and sword fights, peopled with characters that range from high-ranking court officials to naval commanders and pirates to common prostitutes. Woven through the narration are the threads of betrayal, friendship, loyalty and faith. The protagonist William Harley, usually referred to in the novel as Clarenceux, is a devout Catholic and the events described in this book see him torn between his deeply held religious beliefs and his conscience, his loyalty to Sir William Cecil and thus ultimately to the queen, to his wife and to Rebecca Machyn, a woman whom he secretly loves.

I am slightly surprised at all the positive reviews this novel has received so far because I found it hard going at times. It starts slowly, there's a lot of toing and froing involved with no results to show for it, and I sometimes felt as if I was treading water with no plot developments to sustain the interest. It is true that the author paints an atmospheric picture of London, Southampton and surrounds, conveying a very good sense of time and place to the reader, but I felt that in his attempt to draw a vivid picture he succumbs to the temptation of making it too descriptive, the narration being too weighted down with the intricate detail of its depiction of Elizabethan life. The prose mostly remains purely functional, and in my opinion felt slightly clumsy at times. He uses a lot of archaic nouns in his descriptions of people and places and there is a fair amount of maritime terminology to be found where I would have welcomed a glossary in the appendix. I had problems picturing the layout of Calshot Fort in my mind and therefore found the section of the fighting action taking place there confusing, and it was difficult to keep track of the movements and fates of the various soldiers involved. The fact that the pirate captain Carew just happens to overhear a crucial part of information whilst he is lying in wait outside the windows is just too convenient and lets the otherwise high standard of this novel slightly down. Throughout the book I had a feeling of disengagement from the main character and could never really warm to him; mostly I just felt sorry for Clarenceux, escaping from one place of imprisonment and torture only to end up in another. The best part in my opinion without a shadow of a doubt is the thrilling and exciting sea battle, painting an extraordinarily vivid picture of the chaos, desperation, determination and noise in all its gory detail, a truly nail-biting piece of writing.

This second volume in what appears to be a series of books centred around William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, will inevitably draw comparison with C J Sansom's Shardlake series, set in England only about 25 years before. I think this book is a pale imitation of Sansom's evocative portraits of Tudor England, and would have advised the author on a different period setting for his novels. Ultimately I feel that the publishers are trying to capitalise on Sansom's success by publishing more historical thrillers set in Tudor times, as there obviously seems to be a demand for it. Disappointing, I had expected more.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historically convincing but turgid, 26 July 2011
By 
Tealady2000 (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
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I really struggled to get to the end of this book. It started well, with plenty of action and intrigue, but around two thirds of the way through it began to get very repetitive and the plot simply failed to advance at all. I really admired the author's scholarly attention to detail and the writing definitely conjured up the sights, sounds and smells of Elizabethan England in a vivid and realistic way. But ultimately this could not compensate for lack of storytelling flair.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A medieval cliff hanger, 27 Aug. 2011
By 
Buzzscorpion "buzzscorpion" (North Wales) - See all my reviews
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Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book. So well described and detailed that it took you there with the action and drama. Worst thing about it was finishing the last page. All good things have to end..!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 12 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: The Roots of Betrayal (Clarenceux Trilogy 2) (Paperback)
magic
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The Roots of Betrayal (Clarenceux Trilogy 2)
The Roots of Betrayal (Clarenceux Trilogy 2) by James Forrester (Paperback - 16 Feb. 2012)
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