❰PDF❯ ✩ Sacred Treason Author James Forrester – Multi-channel.co

Your God Your Country Your Kin Who Do You BetrayAnyone Could Be A Suspect Any Catholic Could Be Accused Of Plotting Against The Throne Clarenceux Keeps His Head Down And His Religion Quiet But When A Friend Desperately Pleads With Clarenceux To Hide A Manuscript For Him, He Is Drawn Into A Web Of Treachery And Conspiracy He May Never Untangle Is There No Refuge If Your Faith Is Your Enemy Bestselling Author Dr Ian Mortimer, Writing As James Forrester, Has Crafted A Chilling, Brilliant Story That Re Imagines How The Explosive Mix Of Faith And Fear Can Tear A Country Apart Sacred Treason Tells A Thrilling Story Of Murder, Betrayal, And Loyalty And The Power Of The Written Word

10 thoughts on “Sacred Treason

  1. says:

    During the reign of Elizabeth I, religion was a dangerous topic The country had been jerked violently back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary, often with highly unpleasant consequences for those who found themselves on the wrong side of the officially authorized faith du jour Queen Elizabeth was the target of several conspiracies to replace her with a Catholic monarch She had a spy network, headed by Francis Walsingham, that thwarted conspiracies with ruthless tactics It is a dramatic setting for this historical thriller by James Forrester the pen name of historian Ian Mortimer Sacred Treason is the first book in a trilogy that follows the royal herald Clarenceux, a secret Catholic who is given a mysterious book that could threaten Elizabeth s claim to the throne based on information about her mother, Anne Boleyn I have some things to say about that in the spoiler at the end of the review Accompanied by the requisite attractive woman, Clarenceux has to unravel the chronicle s secrets before Walsingham s goons catch up with him Unfortunately, Forrester s novel does not live up to its potential The writing is tedious and gets bogged down in superfluous details Every action, every location, and every person is described exhaustively, whether or not there is any relevance to the story We watch stirring events like this Francis Walsingham noticed that the candle was guttering and about to burn itself out He pulled on a heavy robe, took a wax candle from a small pile in a recess in the wall, and lit it from the old candle before setting it in its place The new flame flickered and rose into a perfect, small tongue of light pg 263.Or this Clarenceux entered and waited, scratching his left palm with his right thumbnail pg 102. Sometimes we get an unhelpful simile And he felt cold in another way, like water splashing on a newly made steel blade pg 150. Or a lot of setup that goes nowhere The sky was heavy with gray clouds it was about to rain A maid reached out of an upstairs window and closed the shutter with a bang There was a dog barking in a backyard Two servant women were chatting as they swept the street outside their adjacent houses A linen coifed woman with a basket on her arm and a concentrated frown on her face was approaching at a fast pace When he saw that the basket contained many fish, Clarenceux made a quick assessment The fish suggested she was catering for a substantial household Her fast pace told him she was a dutiful servant It seemed a risk worth taking pg 150. Clarenceux asks her if she knows the house he s looking for, we hold our breath to see if his penetrating deductive skills will save the day and and spoiler alert she s from another neighborhood and doesn t know It s a swirl of meaningless minutiae, perhaps designed to disguise the lack of plot Clarenceux and his sidekick, the newly widowed Rebecca, wander the streets of London we follow every turn they take with directions detailed than any from Google Maps , go some other places, come back to London, encounter the occasional bad guy, and wander around some In the tsunami of information, there actually isn t much to figure out, so it s easy to be soothed into a stupor before realizing that it took fifty pages for nothing to happen At times the bland lull is interrupted by really graphic violence the villain mutilating a corpse, for example but then we go back to bland Speaking of villainous acts, we get a gratuitous and cliched rape that is poorly handled The Villain sends the pretty woman off with orders to his men to rape her, partially to upset the main character but mostly because he s a violent psychopath who accidentally wandered over from a Thomas Harris novel into the 16th century and that s how he rolls We know this because he makes a speech to tell us all about it We needed the speech because the whole stabbing the eyeballs of a corpse thing might have been too subtle Then it turns out she isn t raped, but then maybe she is, and it s all very coy and treated in an offhand way by everyone involved which seems like exactly the wrong way to handle this topic Sacred Treason was disappointing It had the potential to be decent entertainment and possibly , given the writer s background as a historian and writer of well received popular histories Unfortunately, the combination of overwriting and a weak story resulted in a missed opportunity While the Author s Note at the end was actually interesting than the novel, I had some issues with the historical premise as well For any other War of the Roses Tudor nerds, I have written about that in the spoiler below view spoiler The chronicle in the story contains information related to Anne Boleyn having a pre contract of marriage to Henry Percy before marrying Henry VIII, thereby making Elizabeth illegitimate and ineligible to be Queen That s an involved topic in and of itself that certainly was an issue when Henry wanted to marry Anne Boleyn, though by the time of Elizabeth s reign it was less important Forrester s discussion of Anne Boleyn s trial in the story is also a bit questionable, but fair enough, historical fiction doesn t have to follow historical events exactly With famous situations, though, it should at least be plausible.I can t buy Forrester Mortimer s argument that the 1484 Act of Parliament Titulus Regius made Elizabeth vulnerable to being removed from the throne on the same grounds.That was the Act of Parliament that Richard III pushed through when he usurped the throne, declaring his young nephews illegitimate on the basis that their parents marriage was invalid because their father Edward IV had a pre contract of marriage with someone else when he married their mother Of course, this act was passed after the princes had already mysteriously vanished in the Tower It affirmed Richard s justification for seizing the throne Richard didn t need the act to be King he needed it to shut up people who thought he murdered his nephews By the time of Elizabeth s reign, the act had long since been repealed Mortimer Forrester thinks that even with the act itself repealed, there is still a problematic precedent for Elizabeth He writes, It is worth noting that it was the circumstances, not the Act itself, that removed the boy from the throne the Act was passed a year after Richard III had taken the crown from his nephew on the grounds of illegitimacy So it is fair to argue, historically, that Queen Elizabeth was similarly vulnerable at the start of her reign, for her circumstances were similar to those of Edward V Well, okay, except that Richard took the crown from his nephew under pretty sketchy, and forcible, circumstances to begin with In terms of legal standards it was probably about as fair as Anne Boleyn s trial Speaking of which, it seems like it would have been simpler to declare Elizabeth illegitimate based on the annulment of Henry s marriage to Anne Boleyn right before her execution, or the grounds that Katherine of Aragon s marriage to Henry was not really annulled In fact Elizabeth was declared illegitimate and legitimate, removed from the succession and restored to it, at different times during her life The basis of the fictional chronicle here seems weak It hardly seems worth the suffering the characters endure to preserve it hide spoiler

  2. says:

    This novel was suggested to me by several people as a good follow up to C J Sansom s Shardlake series Though this takes place later, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, there are some notable similarities.Our hero in Sacred Treason is a 40 something herald, William Harley Clarenceux King of Arms He turns out to be as intelligent and surprisingly adventurous as everyone s favorite hunchback lawyer Unlike Matthew, Clarenceux has a wife and children that he must concern himself about and does nothing to invite the drama that he finds himself in the middle of.There are similarities in the writing styles of Sansom and Forrester who is really historian Ian Mortimer The Elizabethan age is vividly brought to life, sometimes in excessive detail His expertise of the era is evident throughout the novel Both authors bravely take on the religious conflicts of the Tudor dynasty and realistically characterize those who are Catholics and reformers.Some significant differences also exist Forrester s story is darker, with several people undergoing torture and abuse by the Queen s men I didn t mind this because I appreciate a realistic look at Elizabeth s reign While we are supposed to be convinced that this glorious virgin queen led the country to unprecedented peace, she was simply subtle than her father in seeking out her enemies and ridding herself of them.The characters and settings in this novel were excellently done, but the mystery became too convoluted and, in the end, pointless It is difficult to write about a supposed attempt at revolution and stay within historical fact, which makes it difficult for this story to do anything other than fizzle out The plot that Clarenceux falls into may have not been a 5 star adventure, but the writing style and recreation of the 16th century were stunning enough to inspire me to continue with the series second novel, The Roots of Betrayal.

  3. says:

    For once, the accuracy of the history was not what was pulling a historical novel down This time, it was too twisty a plot.

  4. says:

    Sacred Treason, by James Forrester, left me a little conflicted This is a novel that I felt was well written, with beautifully described scenes and characters The plot had just the right amount of twists to it, and the resolution was satisfactory I just felt like it took too long to get there Several scenes seemed so similar as to have me doubting whether or not I had doubled back somehow The main character gets caught up in a plot not of his own doing, and is constantly stymied by the same repetitive obstacles The number of times he needs to sneak into or around London seems over done and don t really move the story along The torture interrogation scenes were well done and not too extreme, which I find commendable The overall feeling is very much what I envision, but it just took too much time to get there A few edits would have seen this story with a higher ranking, as the writing itself is what made me get to the end.If you like historical fiction and don t mind a story that takes its time getting there, then this is a good read, I enjoyed it, despite what I feel are its shortcomings Pick it up.

  5. says:

    Politics, religion and another man s wife What a timeless mess of trouble This is a serious historical fiction based on true and or disputed facts about the legitimacy of Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII, of England The mechanics of good writing are excellent as is the research The author is a renowned historian, and I should have read his Notes first The book started slowly for me because of the many names I tried to memorize and my ignorance of the 16th century English legal system Readers, do not worry about the names or the law because everything unfolds very nicely throughout the book Reviewers before me have told you what the book is about I can tell you that the book made me think on the inner man, the outer man, a government with too much power and too few civil liberties, the power of friendship and common beliefs, and how alike are the past and the present.I could put the book down, but I could not leave it down I read it at a leisurely pace and spent quite some time doing doing a little research of my own shoulda read those notes first.Thank you, Mr Forrester, for a good read.

  6. says:

    There s a couple of things I really hate in novels This one contained a classic where a character does something stupid a la Hardy or out of character in order to move the plot along I threw this book down up when the hero managed to kill the physcopath s brother even after he d been tortured ridiculous

  7. says:

    I initially reviewed this book for the blog Passages To The Past and am so glad I did Here is my review 1563 William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, is content in his life As a herald of England, he has had the opportunity to travel the continent and has enjoyed the privilege and relative safety of a gentleman He has a nice home on London s Fleet Street, a loving wife, two beautiful young daughters and a library full of the books he loves While the current Queen Elizabeth s Protestant beliefs are at odds with his Catholic faith he keeps quiet to avoid the taint of treason that so many Catholics fear For a charge of treason can mean a ruined reputation, all lands, properties and titles taken and even death, not only for the one accused but their loved ones as well It seems much safer to practice his faith quietly then bring attention to himself and risk the enmity of the crown.One cold, rainy December night this cozy life is put to the test when Clarenceux, as Mr Harley is known to everyone, receives a knock on the door Henry Machyn, a merchant taylor, funeral arranger and parish clerk acquaintance of Clarenceux s, is distraught, shaken and adamant that his life is in danger and he needs Clarenceux s help He cryptically asks Clarenceux to keep his chronicle safe when he is gone, a chronicle detailing all that Machyn has witnessed over the last thirteen years Along with this he gives Clarenceux instructions to visit a man named Lancelot Heath upon Machyn s death and that he will need to give Lancelot a false name and specific date Terrified that Machyn is involving him in something treasonous Clarenceux presses him further regarding what this chronicle really is However the coded information Machyn gives the questions Clarenceux has, until it becomes evident to him this must be a test of his faith and he has to accept it Right before leaving Machyn tells him he alone can discover the true secret of the chronicle and that he will need to find and bring together all nine of the Knights of the Round Table and discover each of their secret names and specific dates to uncover it Then he is gone into the night and the real test of Clarenceux s faith begins.As Clarenceux reads through the chronicle he becomes even confused The log appears to be nothing than an account of Machyn s day to day actions and observances, ones that seem eerily to involve Clarenceux than any other When he goes in search of Machyn to figure out what this chronicle and its secret has to do with him he discovers Machyn is missing and his house is under guard Shortly after he receives a visit from Machyn s wife, Rebecca, and Clarenceux is arrested on suspicion of treason and his house is ransacked by a royal sergeant at arms and his men who are looking for the chronicle Rebecca is able to escape with the chronicle right before the men can find it but Clarenceux s house is destroyed and one of his servants is murdered He now knows he must discover the secret behind the chronicle to clear his name, revenge the destruction and death brought about under royal instruction and to keep him and those involved alive What he doesn t at first realize is that two of the most powerful men in England Sir William Cecil, the Queen s principle secretary and most trusted advisor, and Francis Walsingham, Cecil s Chief Counselor and the Queen s spymaster are determined to find the chronicle and discover its secrets first and they are willing to do anything to make that happen.So begins the adventure of a lifetime With Rebecca Machyn s help Clarenceux sets off to find each of the Knights of the Round Table and discover what secrets they hold to help unravel the mystery connected to this seemingly benign chronicle Through continued attacks, murder, betrayal and utter devastation they must hold on to their faith and the constant hope for the future to persevere even when all seems lost in order to discover the secret that could change the course of history for two queens.Sacred Treason is a brilliant mystery adventure set in one of my favorite places Tudor England James Forrester is able to keep the suspense and tension palpable across the over 450 pages, a feat not easily done Seamlessly incorporating known facts and people of the time with fictional aspects to progress the story, the many secrets and connections between the various characters are slowly released until the truth literally jumps out at you right towards the end I was completely surprised with the discovery of the chronicle s ultimate secrets which is quite impressive as so often these sorts of stories are easy to unravel long before the ending There are just so many twists, hidden truths and character connections that there is nothing to be done but to keep turning the pages This being the first of a trilogy of stories, I am happy to say that some secrets are still left to be discovered in the subsequent books, such as the identify of one of the Knights of the Round Table, known only as Sir Percival.Sacred Treason is James Forrester s first novel but many fans of history will know him as bestselling author Dr Ian Mortimer, historian and author of such celebrated works as The Time Traveler s Guide to Elizabethan England Even without yet having read one of Dr Mortimer s historic nonfiction books it is not hard to see that he is an exemplary researcher and skilled writer The author notes for Sacred Treason go into the research that brought about the idea for the book and the facts contained within My only complaint at all is that it seems it will take some time for me to get my hands on the next two books in this series The Roots of Betrayal and The Final Sacrament as they don t seem readily available here in the US I will definitely be keeping an eye out for them releasing and will start reading some of his nonfiction in the meantime A must read for historical fiction lovers and especially for those that devour Tudor stories.

  8. says:

    Sacred Treason is the first novel from the acclaimed historian Ian Mortimer and as such it makes an interesting read I have read a number of Mortimer s historical texts and these are usually extremely well written and excellently researched, even though in the case of his book on his historical namesake Roger Mortimer he comes to a conclusion that could be described as contentious However this is not a review of Ian Mortimer s work, this is a review of his works under his pen name James Forrester The novel is a decent debut, which would motivate me to read his follow up book, however this is not in the same league as the works of the author who is in my view the master of the Tudor based historical fiction CJ Samson The book is easy to read, however the characters are not quite believable such as the fact that William Harley the main protagonist who at the start of the book appears to be happily married and then develops an attraction to Rebecca, the widow of the murdered Henry Machyn, which while plausible is not written in sufficient depth or style to make it believable, and Harley s wife takes on an out of sight out of mind role throughout the book The constant wrestling with his conscience by Harley is also a tad grating as it is mentioned in almost every chapter and as the character appears to have an almost iron like sense of self control it appears to be little than an attempt to add a human dimension to the character This is however by no means a bad book, it flows well and is pretty gripping without feeling drawn out or dull and the plot and story line are very good The authors note at the end is also great, stating exactly what details in the book are historically accurate and which are embellished or created new This is a good debut novel however it must be hoped that as Forrester gains experience writing fiction he is able to develop his writing style so that the characters develop the required depth to make them truly believable.

  9. says:

    William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, is a man of standing and respect He is also a Catholic, which is why he is nervous of late night visits When he is visited by Henry Machyn late one evening, he fears it is to be arrested However, when the clearly afraid Machyn entrusts him with a chronicle, telling him, the fate of two queens depends upon that book, he finds himself plunged into a possible Catholic conspiracy Everything he feared arrest, possible disgrace and the crumbling of his carefully constructed world comes true Before long, Clarenceux and Rebecca Machyn, wife soon to be widow of Henry Machyn are forced to flee for their life to protect the chronicle and try to discover the secret it contains.This historical novel contains both real and fictional characters Sir William Cecil and Francis Walsingham are in charge of protecting Elizabeth I, while the author has given Walsingham a fictional vicious sidekick in Crackenthorpe, who takes great delight in carrying out his orders The fact that Clarenceux and Rebecca are both committed Catholics does limit where Forrester can take his characters they spend much of the novel denying the attraction between them However, this is the first book in a trilogy, the next title being The Roots of Betrayal Clarenceux Trilogy 2 and I suspect that this possible love affair may resurface.

  10. says:

    For me, the story took a back seat to insight concerning citizen life during the reign of Elizabeth I It was a time of intolerance, when a difference in religious belief spelled treason, resulting in torture and execution This novel reminded me why the U.S founders insisted upon separation between church and state The belief of any one individual cannot trump the civic rights of others Anyone who supports views coming from right wing conservatives, or cheer for anarchists such as Kim Davis, should review countries, modern and historical, where religious beliefs are used as the basis of civil law.