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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics
"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...
Published 17 months ago by Champollion

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good historical thriller - if that's all you want
This is the latest in a series of historical thrillers featuring swashbuckling anti-hero John Shakespeare, government agent and brother of the more famous Will.
It's been a resounding success in its own right, so quite why Clements' publishers keep feeling the need to compare it to CJ Sansom's towering Shardlake series is beyond me. The cover of this one features a...
Published 9 months ago by Bookwoman


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Heretics, 17 Mar 2013
By 
Champollion (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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"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
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Amazon Customer "Fiona" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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. I was genuinely surprised by the ending, the ultimate baddie was unmasked and I was impressed by the plot. I am a confirmed Tudor lit fan and I think Rory Clements is one of the best. I was worried that the character of John would be overshadowed by his famous sibling, but not so.

One to spend a few nights enveloped in skulduggery and menace, enjoying the twists and turns of
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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
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This review is from: The Heretics (Paperback)
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
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R. Gardner "Corriebob" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Cracking John Shakespeare Novel from Clements!, 27 Jan 2013
By 
uncle barbar (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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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.

My only slight criticism - and it is small - is that you can tell that some characters have vital information for Shakespeare to solve the case and one by one as he gets close to hearing their tale they get killed off - to lose one informer is forgivable but to lose a few on the trot seems like carelessness!

All in all a great novel - for me definitely un-putdownable - I really didn't want it to finish.

And some more great news is written on the back jacket "A TV series based on the books is currently in development" - all I can say is Hurrah - I cannot wait and I hope they do it justice!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go John Shakespeare and Boltfoot!, 17 Mar 2013
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Yet another exciting adventure with your favourite medieval spy. We are taken into this troubled world while John and a diminishing team try to foil the plots, twists and turns of the religious troubles of Elizabeth 1st's reign. Although this book seemed shorter (I read it on Kindle) that might only be because I couldn't put it down...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another first class book, 17 Mar 2013
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Yet again, a top rate book. These just seem to get better and better. I thoroughly recommend this and the whole series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heritics by Rory CLEMENTS, 10 Mar 2013
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After reading the series of the adventures of John Shakespeare this is another good one as well as the four others, starting withMartyr till this one. These are stories in Queen Elizabeth 1st reign about a man called John Shakespeare and his henchman Boltfoot who travels with him doing the great Cecils bidding in the name of the Queen. I will not embroider onthis, just to say read this series and enjoy it. by now Martyr will be out in paperback so enjoy they are a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another intriguing outing for John Shakespeare, 7 Mar 2013
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I Readalot (UK) - See all my reviews
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'The Heretics' is another intriguing, fast paced and well researched novel from Rory Clements. I wasn't surprised to read that he spent years researching and planning before beginning the writing. He doesn't pull any punches with regard to the brutality, but then the Elizabethan era was a very brutal time where Christians persecuted each other simply because they disagreed on the right way to worship the same God. Clements has rather been in the shadow of C J Sansom, but the fact that the 'Shakespeare' series is to be made into a TV series may redress the balance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical thriller, 2 Mar 2013
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Mark H (London, England) - See all my reviews
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I have read two others of his books both set in Elizabethan times and thought they may get a bit monotonous, but that is not the case. He details different aspects of that era and obviously does great research into the social, historical and rural history. In this book there are facts about the numerous exorcisms undertaken by the Catholic priests, the tortures undertaken to try and discover plots against the Queen and great descriptions of the Fens and country side of Cornwall. The author, Rory Clements, has a real talent for immersing you in the era and shedding light on a period that until recently hadn't really been explored by dramatic literature. I for one find Clements' books pull off that tricky mix of being both informative and entertaining very successfully.

To give a bit of the general plot of the book, the hero John Shakespeare, the Queen's intelligencer and chief spy of Sir Robert Cecil , travels around the country trying to uncover a Spanish plot to assassinate Elizabeth. He doesn't know whether the root of this are in Seville or very close to the Queen. He has his suspicions, but every time he and his assistant Boltfoot Cooper seem near to solving the plot, the informants die before they can get the information. Their families are threatened and they also nearly lose their lives. The Spanish attack Cornish villages and Shakespeare wonders if this is the start of another invasion. As you can gather, this is a novel with plenty of pace and energy and given the obvious research put into the background to this book it really feels believable and all the more exciting.

This is a gripping tale and I can't wait to read his next book.
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The Heretics (John Shakespeare 5)
The Heretics (John Shakespeare 5) by Rory Clements (Paperback - 13 Feb 2014)
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