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Firedrake's Eye Paperback – 5 Aug 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New edition edition (5 Aug. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753801108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753801109
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Intelligent thriller with likeable heroes, nail-biter plot... Intelligent thriller first, historical novel second, this underrated novel concerns a Day of the Jackal-style assassination plot on the life of Queen Elizabeth I. Our heroes, clever Simon Ames and bear-like ex-mercenary Becket, try to read the clues that will lead to a dangerous assassin consistently one step ahead of them. Patricia Finney's grasp of historical detail is sufficiently good for London to never quite seem the same again after reading about its dank alleyways and filthy taverns four centuries ago. But Finney's real strength is her set-pieces - a swordfight on Bankside interrupted by a performing bear; Simon Ames hanging onto London Bridge for dear life as a pikeman swipes at him, the river rushing below; and best of all the climactic final scene and denouement.

Comparisons have been made with Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose but Firedrake's Eye is more of a straight-up, classy detective novel - Ian Rankin with doublets, perhaps? -- richard.goff@virgin.net Richard Goff from London

Book Description

A riveting Elizabethan thriller from a highly talented author

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Although it starts off very complex and difficult to read, once you're through the first 40 pages, you will begin to appreciate the thought and effort that Finney put into her characters and especially her story. It took me four attempts and having to read the sequel before I was finally convinced that this book was worth the work. The story is set in the late 16th century and spans two and a half years in the lives of three main characters. They are Simon Ames, a Jewish code-breaker working for the queen's secretary; David Becket, an ex-soldier and sword-fighting teacher; and Tom O'Bedlam, a schizophrenic beggar who sees most of what goes on in London and narrates the story. His madness is what makes the plot hard to follow and also the reason why when it finally comes together the intricacies and details are well appreciated. The story is basically a spy novel from the days when politics and religion were inseparable and treason and blasphemy intertwined. It takes more than one read to understand it completely, and it's a book that you can lose yourself in for hours. It is quite simply the best mix of carefully researched history, believable characters and interesting intelligent plot that a mystery-lover could wish for. Treat yourself!
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By A Customer on 22 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
Exciting, vivid, gripping, fun. Cleverly written Elizabethan thriller, full of intrigue, mystery and superstition. Well-researched, stylishly composed, highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I don't know about you but I divide books into two categories: there's books that exercise the mind and require an effort to understand, and then there's books that require no such effort. All the Richard Sharpe-novels for instance fall into the latter category, the books Patricia Finney writes into the former.

That is not to say the former category is any less good, on the contrary. With me it just depends on the mood I'm in: sometimes I'll just want to 'sit back, relax and enjoy the ride', and at other times the need to take notes, re-read passages to make sure I've understood them fully, look up references and generally sort of struggle with a book to have it release its full meaning adds to the pleasure.

But to return to "Firedrake's eye": if you make the effort this is a cracking good read. The plot is complicated to say the least (I'm sure surviving in a court as riddled with intrigue as Elizabeth's was too), the language dense and compact but by the same token poetical and highly charged with meaning, and Finney brings to life Elizabethan London in a very colourful way. If you liked "Firedrake's eye" by all means read "Unicorn's blood" and "Gloriana's torch" as well, they both are as good.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book by a great author. She writes as if she were there. Her historical research is great.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the best historical spy movels. Notable for the unusual use of language which echoes, but does not pastiche, Elizabethan rhythms.
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