Martyr (John Shakespeare, #1) by Rory Clements

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In this ingenious debut, Rory Clements introduces John Shakespeare, Elizabethan England’s most remarkable investigator, and delivers a tale of murder and conspiracy that succeeds brilliantly as both historical fiction and a crime thriller.

In a burnt-out house, one of Queen Elizabeth’s aristocratic cousins is found murdered, her young flesh marked with profane symbols. At the same time, a plot to assassinate Sir Francis Drake, England’s most famous sea warrior, is discovered—a plot which, if successful, could leave the country utterly defenseless against a Spanish invasion. It’s 1587, the Queen’s reign is in jeopardy, and one man is charged with the desperate task of solving both cases: John Shakespeare. With the Spanish Armada poised to strike, Mary Queen of Scots awaiting execution, and the pikes above London Bridge decorated with the grim evidence of treachery, the country is in peril of being overwhelmed by fear and chaos. Following a trail of illicit passions and family secrets, Shakespeare travels through an underworld of spies, sorcerers, whores, and theater people, among whom is his own younger brother, the struggling playwright, Will. Shadowed by his rival, the Queen’s chief torturer, who employs his own methods of terror, Shakespeare begins to piece together a complex and breathtaking conspiracy whose implications are almost too horrific to contemplate. For a zealous and cunning killer is stalking England’s streets. And as Shakespeare threatens to reveal a madman’s shocking identity, he and the beautiful woman he desires come ever closer to becoming the next martyrs to a passion for murder and conspiracy whose terrifying consequences might still be felt today…(from Amazon)

I have really got to stop reading book reviews and recommendations.  I keep finding books that sound interesting, but are complete different from my normal reading fare.  To make matters worse, most of them are good books too.

Martyr is definitely one of those good books.  The book was engrossing, but not something I could read for hours at a time.  There was just too much going on.  That is my only complaint.  There were so many different characters and so many plots and subplots that I had difficulty keeping track of the storyline.

I have categorized this book under romance, although it is primarily a historical mystery.  The romance is very minor and definitely just a side note.

Two more books in the series have been published:  Revenger and Prince.  I may read them some day, but I am not certain.  They are definitely not next on my list.

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Filed under Historical, Mystery, Realistic, Romance

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