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4.6 out of 5 stars183
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 May 2011
Rory Clements' books keep improving. The first two were good but this is the best so far. As good as CJ Sansom? Make that 'better than'! Clements' plots have far more about them, have more action and pace. His style is excellent, making his books easy to read as well as enjoyable. I was very dubious in the first novel about bringing in the real Shakespeare [Will] into a novel with his fictitious brother but in the second novel this worked well and here also where Will is in potentially big trouble as his fellow playwrights Marlowe and Kydd have been murdered and tortured. Clements' research on these and other topics is, as you might expect, spot on and there is great period atmosphere. Salutary also that one of the main themes of this novel is a problem still with us today. To go back to Sansom for a moment - in his latest book 'Heartstone' I came to dislike Shardlake quite a bit, seeing him as a nosy busybody. John Shakespeare isn't like that at all but there were times when I felt him to be something of a stuck-up prig, a bit too full of his own importance. I hope he isn't allowed to go too far down that road. Overall, an excellent read and highly recommended [but read the others first].
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on 25 May 2011
I received my pre ordered copy of Prince two weekends ago, when I had a friend staying with me and felt it would be very rude if I started reading it while she was here, as I would become very antisocial. So I started - and finished the book last weekend. I could have spent all day Saturday reading it, but decided to ration myself.
I am a Tudor enthusiast and can be a bit critical. However Clements knows what he is writing about as much as any Tudor scholar. Even down to accurately describing the charcoal burning industry (that's how pathetically nitpicky I am). And I learned several things about Elizabethan militeria that I never thought I would be interested in. As one reviewer implied, if more history books could be written like this, then many many more people would engage with history.
I see reviews above have already hinted at themes in the book, but trust me, they have given nothing of the plot away. This is such a detailed interweaved story full of twists and turns. I thought I had reached the denouement, but then realised I had over 100 pages more to read, so that gives you an idea of the complexity of the plot. I think John Shakespeare has much more mileage, and as one reviewer has commented, he is quite different from Sansom's Matthew Shardlake, and although I like both the characters, I think John Shakespeare has more potential for development. I can't wait for the next volume.
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on 24 June 2012
I keep reading Rory Clements simply because his thrillers
set in Shakespearean England and featuring the brother of
one Will Shakespeare, playwright and actor, are exciting
and very readable. This story is written in a pacy style,
moving the reader around several scenarios with our hero
avoiding the snares of women, the church and the establishment
of his time. If you want a 'good read' without the intricate detail of
Hilary Mantel and C J Sansom, this is for you!
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on 27 September 2011
The third John Shakespeare book from Rory Clements is a real thriller. For my money he succeeds becaause he creates interesting stories with compelling characters around real historical characters and events; if you liked the Shardlake books of CJ Sansom you'll love these. This time we get to know Shakespeare's sidekick Boltfoot Cooper a little better, and for the first time meet Sir Robert Cecil, Walsingham's successor as spymaster to Elizabeth. The murder of Christopher Marlowe, the Earl of Essex's intrigues, Spanish plots against the throne and a hate campaign against 'strangers' are all linked in an ingenious way by Clements, who throws in some Polanski's Macbeth style witches for good measure. Gripping and good fun.
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on 14 May 2011
Once again Rory Clements has produced a cracking adventure , that is full of intrigue and double dealing set in the England of 1593.England is a powder keg of rumour and fear and once again John Shakespear investigations take him from the Royal horse races to the opulent chambers of Black Luce`s brothel.The in-depth research and passion for the period takes the reader from the theatrical underworld of Marlowe and Kyd to the pain-wracked torture cells of priest-hunter Richard Topcliffe and into a explosive encounter at sea.This is the third outing of John Shakespear and for me he is now right up there with C.J.Samson Matthew Shardlake with this engrossing thriller that had me page turning into the early hour`s of the morning,more please as soon as possible.
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Historical Fiction is a genre that requires a great deal of preparation and whilst some of the facts within may seem like modern references, historically they're accurate and correct for the times within. In this case, the emotional as well as political turmoil about foreigners taking English Homes as well as jobs (which reached its height during the Great Fire of London.) The book is adaptive, wonderfully creative and takes the reader on a wonderful journey throughout.

Add to this an author that believes in giving the reader not only a journey but solid prose and of course decent pace that matches the time. All in a great piece of fun and one that I really enjoyed.
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on 11 March 2012
Another fantastic volume of Clements Elizabethan mysteries, involving investigator John Shakespere. Bringing history to life

in fiction with fact.

Yet again I could not put this book down. It is intrigueing, on the edge of your seat reading from page one to the end.

I thouroughly reccomend all of this series of books and, hope that they don't stop with this one.

You can have the added bonus of buying them at good prices from Amazon as I do!
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on 29 April 2012
but the john shakespeare books are really good. I cannot be having writers like gregory who distort fact but clements actually reveals facts e.g most people believe marlowe died in a pub brawl, he did not and clements knows this and makes sure that his readers do too. the story moves along quickly with many things going on. the characters are believable and i much prefer these books to the shardlake ones.
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on 13 July 2011
More Elizabethan skullduggery and intrigue from Mr Clements and every bit as good as the other two books. This time we have pensioner QE1 coming to the end of her reign and as the body count increases, the fight is on for her throne with an unknown pretender waiting in the wings.

Rory Clements characters are vibrant and he writes with great authority at an enjoyable pace as the plot evolves, twists and turns as any good thriller should, unlike the plodding narrative and somewhat dull characters of CJ Samsun.

The bawdy olde English is a joy to read - Highly recommended
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on 21 May 2011
I when i read these kind of books always check to see how close to the truth these writers get and i have too say that Mr Clements does get pretty close. This is the third book in this series that follows John Shakespeare has he tries to unravel undoings in the streets of London during the time of Elizabeth the 1st. I absolutely recommend it to anyone who believes that the troubles we got today truly is a new thing , because without giving too much away it shocked me that the troubles in the world also existed back then. BUY IT YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.
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