For fans of C J Sansom and S J Parris, Holy Spy features the Queen's Intelligencer John Shakespeare in the latest of Rory Clements' acclaimed and best-selling series of Tudor spy thrillers.
Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, "does for Elizabeth's reign what C.J. Sansom does for Henry VIII's" (Sunday Times).
In London's smoky taverns, a conspiracy is brewing: a group of wealthy, young Catholic dissidents plot to assassinate Elizabeth, free Mary Queen of Scots - and open England to Spanish invasion. But the conspirators have been infiltrated by Sir Francis Walsingham's top intelligencer, John Shakespeare. Shakespeare, however, is torn: The woman he loves stands accused of murder.
In a desperate race against time, he must save her from the noose and the realm from treachery. And then it dawns that both investigations are inextricably linked - by corruption very close to the seat of power....
"Clements has the edge when it comes to creating a lively, fast-moving plot." (The Sunday Times)
"Enjoyable, bloody and brutish." (Guardian)
"Real quality...faster moving than C. J. Sansom...very, very well done." (Front Row, BBC Radio 4)
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Excellent as always
This is a prequel to the other John Shakespeare books but no less enjoyable for that. The story is satisfyingly complex, combining a murder mystery with affairs of state. The characterisation and evocation of the sense of Elizabethan England is superb. The narration is very good for almost all the characters, but unfortunately slightly colourless for Shakespeare himself. I highly recommend this book.
Nearly but not quite.