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83 Reviews
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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good one!
Having enjoyed Rory Clements' debut novel, I was a bit worried about the dreaded second-novel syndrome but thankfully, it doesn't apply here. This is a quality return to the late 16th century and to John Shakespeare. Five years have passed [it's now 1592] since the previous book and I have to ask why, other than to see the passing of Walsingham and the advent of Cecil in...
Published on 3 May 2010 by Jeff

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Turning into a good series, but ...
This is turning out to be a very readable series. There's a lot to admire in this book - a fast-moving, page-turner plot with that safe old favourite, a race against time; interesting characters, including some excellent villains, many of whom are famous historical figures; a convincing 16th century setting, against a backdrop of real events; realistic dialogue which...
Published on 26 April 2011 by Bookwoman


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73 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good one!, 3 May 2010
By 
Jeff "roadrunner" (uk) - See all my reviews
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Having enjoyed Rory Clements' debut novel, I was a bit worried about the dreaded second-novel syndrome but thankfully, it doesn't apply here. This is a quality return to the late 16th century and to John Shakespeare. Five years have passed [it's now 1592] since the previous book and I have to ask why, other than to see the passing of Walsingham and the advent of Cecil in the top Spymaster position. The plot, which I won't detail as, let's face it, gives the game away revolves, to a certain extent, around Roanoake, an early settlement in what is now Virginia and problems relating to early settlers there. More to the point is the factional fracas between any number of people vying for the favours of the fading Elizabeth, not least the main contender Essex. Throw into the mix a not-too-convincing marital falling out between Shakespeare and his wife over religion and you have a thoroughly good read! Very well written and, it seems to me, well researched. I was very uncertain in the first book about the main character's name. It's clear that a John Shakespeare, supposedly elder brother of Will, never existed so I wondered what was the point. In the first book, quite honestly, there was no point at all but in this one things are different. William [the man himself!] makes an appearance and I have to say it works very well. It's known that he frequently skated on thin ice in his search for patronage and Clements brings this into his plot cleverly. Interesting take on Sir Walter Raleigh, a man perhaps few of us really know much about. And, by the end, which is all-action, we realise that what started it all is a problem that is sadly still with us.
Excellent read which I strongly recommend. I note that the new CJ Sansum is due out very shortly. He's got competition!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TO BE OR NOT TO BE, 4 May 2010
By 
James Eves "applegarth" (London,England) - See all my reviews
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I must say how much i enjoyed this second outing of John Shakespeare (and yes he is the old brother to young Will who plays his part in this adventure ),set in the 16th Century England ,Rory Clements creates the dark atomosphere for plague invested London, as he takes Shakespeare back into the world of the intelligencer in 16th century England and into the intrigues of Queen Elizabeth 1 court , were he is caught in the power struggle between The Earl of Essex and Sir Robert Cecil.Rory Clements has a great eye for detail and his story telling has you on the edge of your seat as we romp through this Historical thriller at pace.If you like C.J.Samson "Matthew Shardlake" or Susanner Gregory "Thomas Chaloner" you love John Shakespear,more please Mr Clements and soon.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sequel, 5 Sep 2010
By 
J. Potter (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Loved 'Martyr' and was hoping 'Revenger' was going to be as good. It wasn't - It was even better!!. Started reading Rory Clements as adored the 'Shardlake' books and was recommended his books thanks to Amazon reviews and to me he now ranks up along with C J Sansom. His books are riviting, funny, educational and full of wonderful characters some fictional some not.I can't recommend both these books highly enough. Can we have the next one asap please Mr Clements!!?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenger `a good un`, 22 Aug 2010
Fantastic sequel to Martyr, Clements has brought the Elizabethan era to life once again, with plot and sub plot and a host of new villains with novel ways of inflicting suffering on their victims, all in the name of religion. Couldn`t put it down, can`t wait for the next installment.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Turning into a good series, but ..., 26 April 2011
By 
Bookwoman - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Revenger (John Shakespeare) (Paperback)
This is turning out to be a very readable series. There's a lot to admire in this book - a fast-moving, page-turner plot with that safe old favourite, a race against time; interesting characters, including some excellent villains, many of whom are famous historical figures; a convincing 16th century setting, against a backdrop of real events; realistic dialogue which avoids any 'forsooths' or 'begads'; a solid leading man who's William Shakespeare's brother, no less. If you like a historical murder/spy mystery with a dash of intrigue you'll enjoy this, and the author has been clever enough to plant the seeds for a whole series.
But for me it's an almost, but not quite, four star read.
Rory Clements must realise (and his publishers, judging by the cover design, certainly do) that he will always be compared to CJ Sansom and that John Shakespeare will always be compared to Matthew Shardlake. In this respect, there's absolutely no contest. Sansom's first person narrative means that we enter into the heart and soul of Shardlake - consider how he constantly worries about the wellbeing and whereabouts of his sidekick Jack Barak, and compare that to the perfunctory relationship that Shakespeare has with his assistant Boltfoot, which just seems to move the plot along.
However, it's an exciting plot and he weaves real people and events into it very well indeed, but for me it's short on atmosphere and characterisation. I suppose it's the difference between the character-led and the plot-led story. Sansom's characters live and breathe, making the story even more compelling. But maybe with a decent director and some good actors, Revenger's defects could be remedied for the book to form the basis of an excellent tv series?
Just one final carping note: lose the lists at the end of the book! It's always interesting to tack on some sort of historical note at the end of a book like this, to flesh out the real characters and their place in history. But here we have a rather random list of characters that didn't quite make it into the narrative proper, and a lexicon of words that the author didn't use well enough to make their meaning clear. And do we really need to have the definitions of words like musket and strumpet ..?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 7 Jun 2010
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A great sequel to "Martyr". If you like C J Sansom, you'll like Rory Clements.Can't think of a better recommendation!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars better than shardlake, 19 Jun 2011
By 
L. Turner "neva" (france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Revenger (John Shakespeare) (Paperback)
i am a great fan of the shardlake books set in the reign of henry 8 so was not sure whether i would like this as clements has a lot to live up to but, if anything, i enjoyed it more.
I have not read the first book martyr so did not really know what to expect but, whereas the shardlake novels can often seem a little slow, there was always something happening in this book. clements does not give the 'rose tinted glasses' view of elizabethan england, which is often associated with the virgin queen, and i enjoyed his use of the language and expressions of the era and his characters.
i will definitely read martyr and would be surprised if it is not as good as this
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars revenger, 12 Jun 2011
By 
Mr. D. West "westy" (dagenham,essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Revenger (John Shakespeare) (Paperback)
exellent read,if you like the shardlake books by c.s.sansom this books for you i read the first book by rory clements and thought that was good but this was a lot better, i'l be getting Prince shortly, just wish the author had began the books in shakespears earlier days with walsingham.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another grim but highly readable entry in this series, 20 May 2011
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the second offering in Rory Clements's series featuring the intelligencer John Shakespeare, now, following the death of Walsingham, working for Robert Cecil. This is a grim story involving the famous lost American colony of Roanoke and the headstrong activities of the Earl of Essex. It contains some interesting characters, including some of the most unpleasant ones I've encountered in historical fiction (Topcliffe is real, though). I'm still not sure if I like John Shakespeare - for me he still largely lacks the human appeal of Sansom's Shardlake.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 9 May 2011
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Ms. Sara H. Potts "potsie67" (Manningtree UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Revenger (John Shakespeare) (Paperback)
Enjoyed more than Martyr, and thought Martyr was very good.
Know I've found a good book when I start to look for any opportunity during the day, to have a read.
Found myself checking in Wiki about the Roanake colony, and the central characters.
Looking forward to the next book, hope dont have to wait to long for the paperback version !!
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Revenger (John Shakespeare)
Revenger (John Shakespeare) by Rory Clements (Paperback - 3 Feb 2011)
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