The Heretics (John Shakespeare) Hardcover – 28 Feb 2013
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Rory Clements again brings to life the dark side of Elizabethan England. (Daily Mail)
Enjoyable, bloody and brutish. (Guardian)
Beautifully done ... alive and tremendously engrossing. (Daily Telegraph)
I found this the best book in the series. (Historical Novels Review)
For fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris, THE HERETICS is the fifth in Rory Clements' acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, 'does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's' Sunday TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Now that I have finished it and have a chance to review it I thought I would give you my thoughts on John Shakespeare's 5th tale (without giving too much away)!
John, as usual, goes travelling out in the country attempting to find out about the latest diabolical plot to kill the queen - but he is unsure whether this one has been started in Spain or closer to home - Wisbech in Cambridgeshire or even closer to the Queen's court? He travels to Wisbech to visit the incarcerated monks there to question them and has a rather torrid journey there, he meets a Dutch man who helps him on his way. It is a vivid picture of what life was like in the wilds of the fens.
He travels to Buckinghamshire where earlier in Elizabeth's reign some rather horrific exorcisms took place by some Catholic clergy and he goes to Cornwall in search of a girl, to meet a woman (the romantic element of this book) and perhaps to thwart a Spanish invasion?
I cannot say anymore or I would give the plot away. Cecil's spy ring is shaken to the core by this book.
There are some strong willed ladies - not just in John Shakespeare's own household but also as part of the Queen's household. And of course the ever-faithful Boltfoot Cooper carries out the orders of John throughout.
John's brother Will does not have a very large part in this novel - although his players both ex and current do feature somewhat.Read more ›
It is set in the 1590's, and similar to his previous novels, involves a conspiracy, against the State, but, on this occasion, it is to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. The plotters are Catholics, involving priests who manipulate young women under the guise of exorcising their 'demons.'
The author creates a vivid and authentic Tudor landscape, and the narrative is carried along with pace as John Shakespeare hunts down his quarry. Clements books are clearly well researched and expertly structured into an engaging and compelling story.
Although, as source material, the rich mine of the world of the Tudors has been explored before, Rory Clements has a distinctive voice, and an interesting character in John Shakespeare, who has developed into a more credible, assertive and ruthless individual. Recommended.
I caught on to what was happening before the end but not very long before so I think that overall the author did a good job of building up some suspense but also of putting in enough information that the reader can solve the puzzle. This is what I look for in a puzzle story, you can either solve it or can see that you should have solved it. If I do not solve it I want to think "doh, should have seen that", not "how could I possibly have got to that".
It's been a resounding success in its own right, so quite why Clements' publishers keep feeling the need to compare it to CJ Sansom's towering Shardlake series is beyond me. The cover of this one features a quote from a Sunday Times reviewer who claims it "does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's". Superficially that's true, I suppose, in that both series feature murderous plots which threaten the Tudor throne, with plenty of real historical characters and lashings of period detail to bring them to life.
But only up to a point. Clements' fans have given this latest one glowing four and five star reviews, and I quite enjoyed it, too. With its wide assortment of characters, short cinematic scenes, and wealth of plot twists, red herrings and false endings, this story of the race to foil a Catholic plot to assassinate the ageing Elizabeth I would make an excellent tv serial - but only if a clever casting director found a charismatic actor to bring Shakespeare to life (as John Thaw did with Inspector Morse).
Because it's all about the plot. The characters are believable, but paper-thin - all they do is move the plot along (promising new faces like Shakespeare's adopted son Andrew, and his streetwise friend Ursula, come and go without making much of an impression) so it's hard to care very much about anyone, even the protagonist. After five books, Shakespeare is getting to be a bit more familiar but you still don't get under his skin: the scenes with his family and his household are too perfunctory to make him a more rounded character.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The John Shakespeare series are all excellent but this is the best yet. Full of intrigue, fast paced and exciting , Tudor England comes to life. A real page turner.Published 28 days ago by Ali Mansell
Very pleased with the condition of the book and the speedy delivery.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Another good read by Rory Clements. I am thoroughly enjoying the John Shakespeare series and I particularly like his notes at the end of the books. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Peta S.
As good as all previous John Shakespeare books, gripping right to the last page.Published 3 months ago by Gillian Hockerday