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Danger to Elizabeth: The Catholics Under Elizabeth I (Elizabethan Quartet 2) Paperback – 26 May 2010
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After the Reformation, Europe lay divided by religion. This second volume of Plowden's quartet charts the struggle between Elizabeth I and the Catholics who, denouncing her as a heretic, a bastard and a usurper, threatened to overthrow her and re-establish the supremacy of Rome in all Christendom.
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Plowden is impartial throughout, though her use of anachronisms grates, especially her use of the term "left wing" to describe Protestants and "right wing" to describe Catholics, and one description of a place of not particularly bad imprisonment of Catholics as a concentration camp. In sum, a good read.
The book is written in a way to be accessable to someone with just a general interest in the topic yet still of enough depth to keep interested an ardent reader with a specialist degree of knowledge in the subject. Wether read in successon with the other three books, or read individually, it is in its own right an interesting and absorbing book. The text flows smoothly, so at times you forget the historic nature of the book and it achieves a novel-like read. There are however, times where the volume of quotes and dates makes the reading of certain chapters slightly heavy going, these seem to be mostly around the sections that concentrate on the religious topics and their associated acts of parliment. The sections on the competitive, yet still goodwill competition between the Queen of England and the Queen of Scots is at times almost charming, bringing the characters of these two women to life, in a way not accomplished by many of the books written by other authors on the topic. On the sidelines are the ever present conflicts and aggrements between England and the Spanish and French nations based on the religious climate of the day. Towards the end of the book the pace slows but returns to its absorbing pace with a consice epilogue which ties in the book very well and capping it off superbly for those readers who do not wish to further the story with the next two books in the series.
In conclusion, this book is not the most colourful of the quartet with its roots been in the more difficult years of Elizabeth's reign, but it stiil proves itself to be an accessable addition to the wealth of literature available on the subject of Queen Elizabeth I (particulary on this period of her life which is often glanced over, with little or no historical evidence). An entertaining and informative read mixing well, historical accuracy with anecdotal accounts from journals of the time. A good beginners book on the topic for the more advanced reader.
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