Author(s): Rory Clements
MARTYR is the first in the acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare Elizabethan mystery series by Rory 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 ...
Martyr (John Shakespeare 1) For fans of CJ Sansom and SJ Parris, MARTYR is the third in chronological order 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
Shortlisted for CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2010.
'A colourful history lesson...leavened by exciting narrative twists' -- The Sunday Telegraph '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 'An engrossing thriller' -- Washington Post 'Beautifully done ... alive and tremendously engrossing' -- Daily Telegraph 'Enjoyable, bloody and brutish' -- Guardian 'An excellent debut' -- Publishers Weekly 'Captivates and carries one along through the strength of its plot and its intelligent main character' -- Dallas Morning News 'Sharp and challenging, this book is missed at one's peril' -- Oxford Times 'The novel wears its historical learning lightly, and Clements seasons it with romance and humour' -- The Mail on Sunday
Author Rory Clements has had a long and successful newspaper career including being Features Editor and Associate Editor of Today, Editor of the Daily Mail's Good Health Pages and, most recently, Editor of the health section at the Evening Standard He is now writing full-time in an idyllic corner of Norfolk. 'I have a healthy obsession with the 16th century,' says Clements. 'I love the world as it then was, the characters, the conspiracies and the extraordinary resolve of people who were willing to cast themselves adrift into uncharted oceans with no way of knowing whether they would ever return. I wanted to explore, too, the contrast between the barbarity of men like the licensed sadist Richard Topcliffe and the humanity of William Shakespeare, the glitter and glamour of Elizabeth's court and the squalor of the streets. So different and yet so similar to the world we now inhabit with its religious tensions and great movements of people.'