1564. Trouble ahead! Is Elizabeth illegitimate? A secret document claims so. Now it has gone missing, disaster guaranteed should Catholics supporting Mary Queen of Scots get their hands on it....
Cue for stirring adventures featuring William Harley (Clarenceux King of Arms), retrieving the document his top priority. Although a Catholic, no way does he wish the slaughter of Protestants. All around are spies and intrigue, it hard to know whom to trust. (A good rule of thumb - the higher they are, the more wary one should be.)
This is the follow-up to "Sacred Treason". It helps to have read it, but is not essential - I no doubt one of many newcomers very quickly engrossed. The author stresses the work is fiction but its setting certainly rings true - the wealth of well-researched detail immensely impressive.
By far the most colourful character is pirate Raw Carew - "Robin Hood of the Seas". (Why "Raw"? Best not to ask!) Although so violent, he proves in many ways surprisingly moral (killings excepted) with principles more worthy than those practised by several priests and politicians of the time. In fact, as the book progresses, the reader is likely to have a rethink about those who are proving most loyal.
Emphasis is very much on battles most bloody, tortures most horrible, soaring body counts. Some may feel the exploits of Harley and Carew more befitting those of Jack Bauer in "24". (Just how much punishment can a body take?) I was happy to cast such reservations aside and simply enjoy an exciting read. Be advised all is not as it seems. Prepare for twists as the tale nears its end.
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