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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 9 February 2000
Unicorn's Blood lays a web sophisticated enough to keep fans of Le Carre absorbed and stays historically accurate, while inventing characters we can care about. Her heros are never 20th century politically correct, but admirable despite all their 16th century faults and idiosycracies. From the main characters' daring fights and escapes, to the incidental players' acts of conscience, I was holding my breath, cheering, and agonizing for right to prevail.
It is set in Elizabeth's Court and the streets of late 16th Century London and interweaves the real life mystery of how Elizabeth came to execute her cousin, Mary. Finney employs interesting devices such as narration by the "Holy Virgin"/earth goddess. A great read for any fan of espionage, historical mystery, or just great fiction.
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on 7 January 2008
I discovered Patricia Finney through her "Sir Robert Carey mysteries" and was delighted to find that this novel includes a glimpse of his earlier career, but that is just the gilt on the gingerbread. No, it's not an easy read, not least because this author believes in painting the Elizabethans Warts and All - which includes torture chambers, lack of plumbing, and the generally precarious business of sheer survival. But it is wonderfully written, and really seems to give an insight into sixteenth century minds.
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on 18 November 2006
It is not often a book takes my breath away and is genuinely "unputdownable", but this was one. I was transported into the seedier side of Elizabethan England and kept on tenterhooks throughout. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and of an historical accuracy rare to found outside of Dorothy Dunnett and Colleen McCullough. Best read in years!
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on 3 April 2017
This was my first ever book by Patricia Finney. I found it in a charity shop. When I started reading and discovered that the narrator was the Virgin Mary I almost gave up on the spot; it was just too wierd! However, I kept on with it-not that difficult. Fascinating. Enthralling. Gripping. Cruel, hard, sad, tender. Great insight into Tudor times. With the Dissolution of the Monasteries England lost the purpose of hundreds of men and women. Ostensibly pensioned off, monks and nuns were thrust into a world which wasn't interested in them. What could a woman do? Mary Dormer fell into a downward spiral of prostitution, abortion and drink. The bright spot in her life is her grand-daughter Pentecost.
The story is a race to find the Book of the Unicorn, written by the Princess Elizabeth containing a secret which could empower the king of Spain to conquer England. I'm so glad I carried on reading!
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on 23 July 2015
I loved the Robert Carey novels and hoped this one would be just as good. What totally spoilt it however was the huge amount of spelling mistakes, incorrect spelling and missing letters from words. This jarred every time I came to one which was very often so the flow of the book was constantly broken. Not what I would expect from this talented author.
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on 18 October 2007
Just like "Firedrake's eye" and "Gloriana's torch" this is a stunning detective novel set in Elizabethan times (have you ever considered what a wealth of books we would have missed out on if Elizabeth had never been queen?). Elizabeth is caught between a rock and a hard place: should she or should she not order the execution of Mary Queen of Scots? And when rumours about an ancient scandal begin, our unlikely heroes David Becket and Simon Ames finds themselves caught up in the midst.

Be aware that this is not an easy book, with it's intricate plot and dense language, so if you're looking for something to read on the beach while on holiday I'd pick something else.
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on 29 September 2015
Putting this on my kindle was an error. I have the book on my shelf. I was given the impression that this was a third book in the series but it is just the second book. It's a good story - even gives Robert Carey a minor role - so I'm not too cross. I enjoyed reading it again
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on 19 November 2015
Patricia Finney has such a good grasp of Elizabethan life and I love the way her characters trail through most of her books. You really get to know these people!
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on 31 August 2015
couldn't put it down. Great read.
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on 5 February 2015
Took some getting into
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