- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Zaffre (2 Nov. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1785761188
- ISBN-13: 978-1785761188
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24 cm
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 556,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cradle Hardcover – 2 Nov 2017
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I want to start this review by saying that this book is probably the best I've read this year. The action is second to none and the violence is on par with what you expect from this era of history. Overall I loved this book and I will be buying all the preceding novels at the earliest opportunity * Two Bald Mages * Treason is a compelling read and extremely difficult to put down * For Winter Nights blog * Immaculately researched and teeming with suspense, malice and menace, this is an impressive portrait of the suspicion and intrigue that stalked the early years of James I's reign as well as a thrilling adventure story that will keep readers on their toes from first page to last * Lancashire Evening Post * I enjoyed reading about this period in English history (...) I have never read a book specifically on James I, but aim to in the new year (...) The storyline is a plus (...) and the character Christian Hardy is a plus * Impressions in Ink blog *
I want to start this review by saying that this book is probably the best I've read this year. The action is second to none and the violence is on par with what you expect from this era of history. Overall I loved this book and I will be buying all the preceding novels at the earliest opportunity (Two Bald Mages)
Treason is a compelling read and extremely difficult to put down (For Winter Nights blog)
Immaculately researched and teeming with suspense, malice and menace, this is an impressive portrait of the suspicion and intrigue that stalked the early years of James I's reign as well as a thrilling adventure story that will keep readers on their toes from first page to last (Lancashire Evening Post)
I enjoyed reading about this period in English history (...) I have never read a book specifically on James I, but aim to in the new year (...) The storyline is a plus (...) and the character Christian Hardy is a plus (Impressions in Ink blog)
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We were first introduced to Christian Hardy in Treason, a novel that told the tale of the Gunpowder Plot and the efforts of Hardy to prevent it and of Realm, the monstrous and demonic Spanish spy, to bring it about. Both Hardy and Realm return in Cradle, their enmity as livid as ever, and they carry their blood feud to Jamestown and the Americas.
But while Hardy and Realm continue their fight, Jamestown is faced by other threats – most especially the local warring tribes of native Americans. But there is also disease and famine to face, as well as loneliness and despair. It’s all very grim indeed and, at times, it is very bloody and gruesome.
The story of Cradle has a habit of jumping forward, giving it a rather disjointed feel (for instance, a man is languishing in prison and in the next chapter he’s been restored to his liberty). This is supported by its constant movement between the settlement and the surrounding native American villages. I found the style hard to settle down into but my main issue with the novel is with its incessant violence and conflict. I realise that this is the purpose of the novel but we jump from one conflict to another, one death to another, while characters are given little time to develop. Which is a pity because I think, given the chance, I would rather like Christian Hardy.
There’s something too despicable about Realm, though, and this horror is backed up by the gruesome cruelty of the tribes. In some chapters we’re given a positive image of the local people, particularly through their women, but this is counteracted by the portrayal of predominantly cruel behaviour. I didn’t enjoy this. Some of them are turned into caricature baddies. Not that the men in Jamestown are much better. It’s all a bit unpleasant. Which is a shame, because the setting of the novel is wonderfully described. I love the frontier feel of the novel, the dangerous isolation of the settlement and the vulnerability of its inhabitants. There is almost a siege-feel to much of the novel, which can be very exciting to read.
It’s possible that I have issues with Cradle because its focus is more on violence and conflict than on character and history. It didn’t feel sufficiently set in its time for me. However, it’s certainly exciting and tense and so, if you like an action-packed historical thriller then this might well be for you. I'm grateful for the review copy.
The author has created a brilliant story and brought to life a very vibrant and turbulent time in history when the first permanent British settlers colonised in the Americas. One hundred English settlers in 1607, deposited from three ships, erected a rudimentary wood fort in the wilds of Virginia and named it Jamestown. So began the battle for America....
The frontier setting of the story is fabulously described and truly sets the scene.
I loved the opening chapter, it truly drew me in... "The priests danced and death was close. It was the worst of times to be a prisoner of the natives......" Often quite brutal and violent, this story truly reflects how barbaric the native Indians were and understandably passionate about defending and protecting their land.
I did find the timeline jumped a little and that's the only criticism I would have about the writing style. The narrative is superbly written with some mighty strong characters including Captain John Smith, Realm and Christian Hardy.
James Jackson is well up there in the ranks of historical fiction writers who I believe is also a Sunday Times bestseller. I'd happily read more by him in the future and I may even look up some of his previous successful novels.
Christian Hardy might escape from the spymaster, Robert Cecil, who wanted him dead. He boarded the ship to Jamestown at the command of Henry, the Prince of Wales to preserve the settlement. The King might wish the settlers fail! Most settlers lost their lives through diseases, harsh winter conditions and famines.
The president of Virginia Company, John Ratcliffe and Captain John Smith struggled for the power to control the fort. Smith wanted the company to explore more settlements and sow the seeds in the fields. However, the bloodshed continued.
This novel sounds like Roanoke the lost colony! The settler felt that they lived in Hell. I am glad to read the historical note at the end of this novel for which I thank James Jackson!
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of this book to review
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