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Martyr

Martyr

For fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris, MARTYR is the first of 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 Times

England is close to war. Within days the axe could fall on the neck of Mary Queen of Scots, and Spain is already gathering a battle fleet to avenge her.

Tensions in Elizabeth I’s government are at breaking point. At the eye of the storm is John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer in the secret service of Sir Francis Walsingham. When an intercept reveals a plot to assassinate England’s ‘sea dragon’, Francis Drake, Shakespeare is ordered to protect him. With Drake on land fitting out his ships, he is frighteningly vulnerable. If he dies, England will be open to invasion.

In a London rife with rumour, Shakespeare must decide which leads to follow, which to ignore. When a high-born young woman is found mutilated and murdered at an illicit printing house, it is political gunpowder – and he has no option but to investigate.

But why is Shakespeare shadowed at every turn by the brutal Richard Topcliffe, the blood-drenched priest-hunter who claims intimacy with Queen Elizabeth herself? What is Topcliffe’s interest in a housemaid, whose baby has been stolen? And where do two fugitive Jesuit priests fit into the puzzle, one happy to die for God, the other to kill for Him?

From the splendour and intrigue of the royal court, to the sleek warships of Her Majesty’s Navy and the teeming brothels of Southwark, Shakespeare soon learns that nothing is as it seems . . .
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries

On Sale: 11th June 2009

Price: £8.99

ISBN-13: 9781848542235

Reviews

"Clements has a real feel for the Elizabethan period...he understands the religious challenges and historical events that shaped 16th century politics and amidst it all he has devised a thrilling plot. An excellent start to a new series"
Lancashire Evening Post, Pam Norfolk
'A cracking plot full of twists right up to the last minute. I look forward to the next',
Sunday Express, Rory Clements
'Beautifully done . . . alive and tremendously engrossing'
Daily Telegraph
'A colourful history lesson . . . exciting narrative twists'
Sunday Telegraph
'Enjoyable, bloody and brutish'
Guardian
'An engrossing thriller'
Washington Post
'An excellent debut'
Publishers Weekly
'Captivates and carries one along through the strength of its plot and its intelligent main character'
Dallas Morning News
'The joy of this book is the way it interweaves commonly known history with the story. The atmosphere and attention to detail will commend this book to devotees of the period'
Crimesquad
'Clements can be seen as doing for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's . . . What's impressive in the latest is how much of Tudor society it crams in, from the court and Derby's estate to outlaws and the soldiers in its concluding scene'
Sunday Times
'There's plenty of thrills . . . the multiple plot elements are well-handled . . . there's much that's enjoyable and Clements' orchestration of the narrative is skillful'
www.displacementactivity.co.uk
'The best yet in Rory Clements' magnificent series about John Shakespeare . . . As always, the historical detail is fascinating and sometimes delightfully obscure . . . another sumptuous feast that will leave you sated - but craving for the next helping!
Crimesquad
'I found this the best book in the series'
Historical Novels Review
Praise for Prince: 'A genuine page turner, and cleverly weaves in real historical events and personalities. Fans will not be disappointed'
Eastern Daily Press
'Intriguing . . . wonderfully graphic and descriptive. Clements richly deserves the accolade: "faster moving than C.J. Sansom'
Bookbag
'Clements' thrilling murder mysteries are a real cut above . . . steeped in authentic 16th-century politics, the plots are complex and clever, and the characters believable and engrossing. But his greatest gift is the ability to bring to life the squalor, intrigue and perils of Tudor London and amidst it all create a superbly tense and entertaining mystery. Roll on Mr Shakespeare's Act IV'
Lancashire Evening Post
'Blending fact with fiction Clements tells a rip-roaring yarn with vigour and energy and a huge enthusiasm for the period . . . a novel lacking neither action nor spice. An undeniably enjoyable and lively plot that gathers pace and excitement throughout. A devilishly good read'
Crime Time
'There is a veritable cornucopia of elements to praise here . . . John Shakespeare is one of the great historical sleuths'
Barry Forshaw
'This very well-plotted, erudite, historical mystery has many twists and turns which make for a very vivid story line. A very absorbing read with a real quality, similar in style but perhaps faster moving, than books by James Forrester or C.J. Sansom. I consider it one of the best books I've read this year. I will certainly look out for more stories by this very talented writer'
Eurocrime
'What most impressed me was Clements' ability to set a fast-paced crime thriller in the London of 1593 and to make it entirely convincing. Clements gives life to this world, not just through years of painstaking research into all things Elizabethan - from cuisine to clothing, politics to borstals, autopsies to witchcraft - but through his use of real figures from history and the manipulation of actual events. What we end up with is a scenario that is believable, and perhaps this is what makes it such an enjoyable read. Whether intentionally or no, many of the topics dealt with in this book also still resonate today and it gives acts of terrorism, for example, a longer historical context'
Edinburgh Book Review
Praise for Martyr and Revenger: 'A cracking plot full of twists right up to the last minute. I look forward to the next'
Sunday Express
'Beautifully done . . . alive and tremendously engrossing'
Daily Telegraph
'A colourful history lesson . . . exciting narrative twists'
Sunday Telegraph
'Enjoyable, bloody and brutish'
Guardian
'An engrossing thriller'
Washington Post
'An excellent debut'
Publishers Weekly
This is a historical thriller to send a shiver down your spine . . . atmospheric - the evocation of the filth and debauchery of London is quite exceptional - it demonstrates the compelling eye for detail and character that Bernard Cornwall so memorably brought to Rifleman Sharpe. I could not tear myself away, it is that good
Daily Mail
This is a historical thriller to send a shiver down your spine.
Daily Mail
Clements can be seen as doing for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's.
Sunday Times
John Shakespeare is one of the great historical sleuths.
Barry Forshaw
A colourful history lesson ... exciting narrative twists.
Sunday Telegraph
An engrossing thriller.
Washington Post