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A Page Turning Read,
This review is from: Sacred Treason (Paperback)
It is 10 December 1563, after the curfew hour, Clarenceux, King of Arms, the respected herald William Harley receives a visitor, Henry Machyn an old and trusted friend. Machyn requests Harley to become the custodian of his chronicle which he began writing in 1550. The `diary' contains a secret which, should it fall into the wrong hands, could have profound consequences for Queen Elizabeth and the future of the realm. So starts an adventure for Harley and Machyn's widow involving spies, coded messages, intrigue, supposed Catholic plots and nail biting pursuits. Add to this the involvement of Francis Walsingham, the arch spy master of the time and the Queen's Secretary, William Cecil and there follows a real page turner of an historical novel.
Many of the characters were real people alive during the Elizabethan reign with a believable addition of fictional characters to enable the plot to unfold with speed and excitement. James Forrester is the pen name of Ian Mortimer, author of the acclaimed `The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England' who has carried his meticulous research of the characters and period to provide a vivid picture of life in Elizabethan England. I found myself sloshing through the mire of London streets in the dark of night, smelling the odours of the garbage flung from the houses into the streets, felt the biting cold of travelling on horse back through a bitter English winter.
The relationships between Harley, Machyn's widow Rebecca, Walsingham, Cecil and many other characters gives a further dimension to this very readable novel. When the `secret' of Machyn's chronicle is eventually revealed it raises an intriguing number of questions, which might form the basis of further tales. Strongly recommended as a `must read' addition to your list.