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The Heretics

CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award, 2013

ebook / ISBN-13: 9781848544352

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 28th February 2013

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries

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*****Part of the bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers from Rory Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award*****

‘[Clements] does for Elizabeth’s reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII’s’ Sunday Times


England may have survived the Armada threat of 1588, but when Spanish galleys land troops in Cornwall on a lightning raid seven years later, is it a dry-run for a new invasion? Revenge for the sacking of Spanish shipping and ports? A warning shot to Drake and Hawkins? Or is there, perhaps, a more sinister motive?

The Queen is speechless with rage at Spain’s temerity. Sir Robert Cecil demands answers. But as John Shakespeare tries to get a grip on events, England’s secret defences begin to unravel as one by one his network of spies is horribly murdered. But what has all this to do with Thomasyn Jade, a girl driven to the edge of madness by the foul rituals of exorcism? And what is the link to a group of priests held prisoner in the bleak confines of Wisbech Castle?

From the pain-wracked torture rooms of the Inquisition in Seville to the marshy wastes of fenland, from the wild coasts of Cornwall to the sweat and sawdust of the Elizabethan playhouses, and from the condemned cell at Newgate to the devilish stench of brimstone and fear as demons are driven out by unspeakable means, THE HERETICS builds to a terrifying climax that threatens the life of the Queen herself.


'Rory Clements again brings to life the dark side of Elizabethan England'
<i>Daily Mail</i>
Praise for the John Shakespeare series: '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'
<i>Sunday Times</i>
'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'
'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!
'I found this the best book in the series'
<i>Historical Novels Review</i>
'Rory Clements again brings to life the dark side of Elizabethan England'
<i>Daily Mail</i>
'A genuine page turner, and cleverly weaves in real historical events and personalities. Fans will not be disappointed'
<i>Eastern Daily Press</i>
'Intriguing . . . wonderfully graphic and descriptive. Clements richly deserves the accolade: "faster moving than C.J. Sansom'
'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'
<i>Lancashire Evening Post</i>
'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'
<i>Crime Time</i>
'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'
'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'
<i>Edinburgh Book Review</i>
'A cracking plot full of twists right up to the last minute. I look forward to the next'
<i>Sunday Express</i>
'Beautifully done . . . alive and tremendously engrossing'
<i>Daily Telegraph</i>
'A colourful history lesson . . . exciting narrative twists'
<i>Sunday Telegraph</i>
'Enjoyable, bloody and brutish'
'An engrossing thriller'
<i>Washington Post</i>
'An excellent debut'
<i>Publishers Weekly</i>
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
<i>Daily Mail</i>
Compellingly readable . . . easily the equal of its predecessors
Good Book Guide
Rory Clements again brings to life the dark side of Elizabethan England.
Daily Mail
Enjoyable, bloody and brutish.
Beautifully done ... alive and tremendously engrossing.
Daily Telegraph
I found this the best book in the series.
Historical Novels Review