Sacred Treason

( 201 )

Overview

"Vivid and dramatic."—The Guardian

"Arresting."—Daily Telegraph

Your God. Your Country. Your Kin.
Who Do You Betray?

1563: Anyone 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 ...

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Overview

"Vivid and dramatic."—The Guardian

"Arresting."—Daily Telegraph

Your God. Your Country. Your Kin.
Who Do You Betray?

1563: Anyone 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.

"An Elizabethan romp featuring a conspiracy, a secret manuscript, and whispers about Anne Boleyn."—Sunday Times

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forrester (the pen name of historian Ian Mortimer, author of The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England) brings a new trilogy to the Elizabethan shelves with this enjoyable first book. In 1563, Catholics are hunted by Queen Elizabeth’s men. William Harley, Clarenceux King of Armes is a Catholic herald in her majesty’s court and worries that his secret will be discovered. But one night an old friend, Henry Machyn, recklessly breaks curfew to ask Clarenceux to safeguard his volume of “seditious and heretical writings,” telling his friend that the “fate of two queens depends on” the project, 13 years in the making. If anything should happen, Machyn tells Clarenceux, he is to give the chronicle to the Knights of the Round Table. Clarenceux, ignorant of the Knights’ existence, now has in his possession a book that will put him in great peril unless he unravels the mystery at its heart. Forrester (Roots of Betrayal) vividly renders emotional scenes, and the book’s villains are sufficiently despicable to keep readers rooting for Clarenceux in this strong beginning to the trilogy. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
"For twists and turns, codes and clues, Mr. Forrester beats Dan Brown, and when it comes to social detail, he is up there with Patricia Finney" - The Wall Street Journal

"A brilliant mystery adventure ... seamlessly incorporating known facts and people of the time with fictional aspects to progress the story ... A must read for historical fiction lovers." - Passages to the Past

"Reading Sacred Treason was like being completely immersed in the world of 16th Century England (without the smells). It was bracing and marvelous and compelling from beginning to end.
" - Book Lovers Inc.

Library Journal
Forrester (pen name of historian Ian Mortimer, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England) centers this cloak-and-dagger tale on William Harley, a gentleman who has achieved the high rank of Clarenceux King of Arms and whose acquaintances include Sir William Cecil. It is a more lowly acquaintance, though, who comes knocking on Clarenceux’s door on a stormy night in December 1563. Henry Machyn has come to Clarenceux because in addition to being an officer of the Queen, the herald is also a secret Catholic. Machyn presses on Clarenceux a chronicle that will prove to be the key to a conspiracy involving a group who call themselves the Knights of the Round Table. He then departs into the storm, never to be seen again for he has been watched by agents of Francis Walsingham. Clarenceux must rely on his wits, his 20-year-old soldiering skills, and the widow Machyn to survive this plot. Verdict Fans of Elizabethan fiction are legion, and they won’t be disappointed by the fierce action and plot twists of this historical thriller, the first volume in a new trilogy.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Lib., Wisconsin Rapids

(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402272660
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Series: Clarenceux Trilogy Series , #1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 266,866
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 7.84 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Meet the Author

James Forrester is the pen name of the historian Dr. Ian Mortimer. Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and winner of its Alexander Prize for his work on social history, he is the author of four highly acclaimed medieval biographies and the Sunday Times bestsellers The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England and The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England. He lives with his wife and three children in the Southwest of England. www.jamesforrester.co.uk
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Read an Excerpt

11

Saturday, December 11

Clarenceux was sitting in his candlelit study with his robe close around him. He was alone again but for Henry Machyn's chronicle, smelling the wood smoke of his study. He heard footsteps on the stairs. A moment later his daughter Annie appeared, holding an orange. Her brown hair was tied back, showing off her high forehead.

"Annie, you should be asleep. It's very late," he said, welcoming her into his arms.

"Yes, but Mother said I could show you this," she replied, thrusting out the orange and smiling. "We buyed it in the market. It was priced a shilling."

"You bought it in the market," he corrected. "Not buyed it." He took the orange and held it up, examining it. "A whole shilling? Do you know why it was so much?"

"Why?"

"Oranges grow on trees in a country far away, called Spain, where the sun shines all day long. Then they are picked and packed in barrels..."

Annie was not listening. She was looking at the chronicle that lay open on the table board. "What is this?" she asked.

"A book. A chronicle."

"What does it say?"

"It says, ‘December the eleventh. On this day did Ann, daughter of Mr. Clarenceux-'"

Clarenceux stopped suddenly. The next words read: dye from her ateing of an orange fruyte.

"Go. Go downstairs, now," he commanded.

He watched her go. She left the door open. He knew she would be crying; he had been too abrupt. But he had had reason: this was outrageous. How dare Machyn write such things! Did the man not hope to win his favor? How far had his wits wandered?

He turned back to the chronicle. The next entry read: Ye following daye dyed his wyfe Awdrey from the poysoninge appel gyven unto her by Mr. Clarenshux because hee dyd not anymoore love her.

He swept the book off the table board, sending his visitation, two other volumes, inkwell, and paper flying across the chamber. As it fell he stood up, rage filling his body, and turned the board itself over. Did he not love her? He bent down and lifted the chronicle, and threw it with all his force across the room. Did he not love them both? His daughter? His wife? The mother of his children? How could anyone have written...

"William, William!" he heard his wife shout. "William, stop it!"

He opened his eyes. It was light, the shutters were open. Awdrey was leaning over him, a loose strand of blonde hair hanging down.

Clarenceux rubbed his hand over his face, feeling his brow soaked with sweat. He lay back in his bed, warm and fresh, where the study in his dream had been smoky and cold. It seemed to him as if the malevolence of the previous night had come back with him, into his house.

That book...

It had been a prophetic dream, he knew. He had to give the book back to Machyn. But today was the day that Machyn had foretold was the day of his death.

"You've been thrashing about in your sleep like a man possessed," said Awdrey, her voice tinged with fear. "Where were you last night? I waited after all that knocking on the door, but you didn't come to bed. Thomas told me this morning that you went out. And now you are shouting in your sleep, shouting about me and about Annie like a man gone mad, beating your arms about. What happened? Where did you go?"

He sat upright and breathed deeply. Calmer now, he swung his legs out of the bed and sat in his shirt, looking at the open window.

Blue sky. The rain had stopped. He looked at the crucifix on the wall.

"Did Thomas tell you who called last night?"

"He said it was Goodman Machyn."

"Yes, it was Machyn," he replied, glancing at her. "He is in trouble."

"Trouble? What sort of trouble?"

"He is in fear of his life. He was terrified. I didn't realize at first how serious his situation was. It only occurred to me later, after he had gone. So I went after him. A royal sergeant-at-arms stopped me."

"William, that was not sensible."

Clarenceux gazed out of the window. "I thought at the time I could help him."

Awdrey said nothing.

Clarenceux stood up. "Will you fetch me some water?"

Awdrey slipped off the bed and picked up the jug. With it, she filled the brass basin on the floor, draped a towel over her arm, and then lifted the basin and carried it to her husband. He nodded his thanks and splashed cold water over his face, wetting his shirt.

"There is some sort of conspiracy afoot," he said. "Machyn is involved. He believes he will be killed today."

He took the towel from her arm and wiped his face. He threw it on the bed and stood, looking into her blue eyes. "I didn't realize it was treason. I still don't think it is. I thought..." He searched her frightened eyes. "I don't know what I thought. I felt that whatever trouble he might be in, he is a good man, and so I had no choice but to try to help him."

"How?" she asked, a little coldly. "In what way could you have helped?"

Clarenceux shook his head. "I cannot tell you, my love." He looked away. He let go of her and went over to his clothes chest. He lifted the lid and pulled out a folded shirt. It smelled strongly of lavender and cloves, like the rest of his clean linen. "All I know is that...I have to find out more. I am going to go and look for him this morning."

"You still intend to? Even though he is a traitor? And you mean to go by yourself?"

"Goodman Machyn is not a traitor. I'll take Thomas with me."

"Go with friends. No one argues with you when you have your heralds and pursuivants about you."

Clarenceux lifted a clean pair of hose from his clothes chest. "I will take Thomas," he repeated. "All I need to do is ask Machyn one thing."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 201 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(63)

3 Star

(48)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 201 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 11, 2012

    A Fantastic Read!!

    Sacred Treason was one of those novels that took me completely by surprise. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this book and I really have to thank the publicist who contacted me offering me a spot on this books tour.

    This book had everything I wanted. I haven't read many historical mysteries especially not ones set in Tudor England so this one was a real treat for me. I can honestly say that I've never read a book like it and I'm super excited that I had the opportunity to read this.

    I really enjoyed the sense of adventure in this novel as Clarenceux solved the mystery behind the mysterious book that his friend Henry gave him. It was a non-stop ride for me and I found myself staying up late last night just to finish it because I couldn't help but want to see what would happen next.

    The writing was seemless and addictive each chapter left me wanting to find out more and more and I very much enjoyed the characters that James Forrester created in his fictional debut. I have to say that Clarenceux is one of my new favourite characters now because he himself was just as intriguing as the mystery surround the book in his possession.

    The way the book was set up was very much in the way of an adventure novel. I loved the historical details that were paid attention to and the descriptions of the times, the places and the people were wonderfully done. I loved the tension between Clareneux and his wicked counterparts who were up to no good it was thrilling to see how the whole novel played out and I'm glad I had a chance to read it.

    I really think that the author's historical background was a real asset to him in writing this novel. He's an author of non fiction titles under his real name Ian Mortimer which gives him that extra edge to pen this series.

    Like I said before I'm not really familiar with the historical mystery genre Sacred Treason has really sparked an interest in me to explore other books that are part of the genre and there's nothing I like more than to be introduced to a new genre so you can expect to see more reviews of books like this in the future. Since I am a fan of both historical fiction as well as mystery novels this bridge between both genres worked out well for me.

    I highly recommend this book to those who are fans of historical fiction and historical mysteries. If you love books set in Tudor England than I think this book might just be up your alley but if you're anything like me you may find yourself up to all hours of the night reading it. I for one am eagerly anticipating reading the other two books in this series and I'm hoping to do so soon.





    * I received a free copy of this book from the published via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own and I was not compensated in any way.

    55 out of 74 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fun and exciting look into history.

    I enjoyed this right from the start. I love a good book that gives you a look at what life was like in the past through the thoughts and actions of the characters. The suspense was constant and the characters very believable, no over the top heros, just normal people caught up in goverment intrigue. I would highly recommend this fun ride through ancient England.

    54 out of 59 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    As a fan of the CJ Sansom Shardlake series, I absolutely recomme

    As a fan of the CJ Sansom Shardlake series, I absolutely recommend this rip-roaring ride through Elizabethan England. Those familiar with Tudor history will recognize key players Cecil and Walsingham, and the sectarian strife that ruled 16th century England. 
    Forrester (Mortimer) does a masterful job showcasing the day-to-day life for every level of society in London of that time - what they ate, what they wore, how they lived.
    I can't wait for his "A Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England" is published, as well, I believe in May. Really great new character and Forrester nails the era perfectly.

    41 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Anonymous

    A well written story. I liked that the author got to the point of things without a lot of unecessary language and detail. Also I was drawn into the story and the more I read the more I wanted to know how the story would end. Good strong characters and easy to read flowing sentences. Great imagination by this writer. Five stars, well deserved.

    27 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Finally......A free book that is not a romance or children's boo

    Finally......A free book that is not a romance or children's book.

    25 out of 82 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Excellent Historical Fiction

    This book is worth reading. Dr. Ian Mortimer, writing as James Forrester, has written a well-researched thriller that holds the interest with personalities and locations from 1563. It has intrigue, swordplay, and strong men and women fighting for their cause. I am very impressed with his detailed descriptions of the writings, the manuscripts, and the London of those times. I am not an expert, but I read voraciously, and this has some of the best writing skills that I have seen lately. It was not too long, not too short, and complete in itself, even though I understand it to be first in a trilogy. Read the author's notes at the end for interesting historical background.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It is a great book

    It is a great book

    13 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Dear "To Question"

    Logic dear one logic! How can B&N lose money on free item? Haven't you heard of loss leaders?
    If you want the free books to suit your taste you might try the library. Yes libraries DO have ebooks available. You are not the Lone Ranger so don't be so ungracious re a GIFT!!
    Have you no shame for being so self centerd?

    8 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2013

    Great

    First let me say I am Catholic and I don't see why others would have a problem with this novel. I did not, perhaps because my Catholic University where I received my Bachelor's taught me to think for myself. I enjoyed this story immensely. It was intriguing and kept a good pace. I ended up reading it in two days as I HAD to find out how it ended.

    Anyone that enjoys novels dealing with the history of England's royals through the ages will delight in this tale set during the reign of Elizabeth the Virgin Queen.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2013

    Um... how can Barnes and Noble "lose money" by not sup

    Um... how can Barnes and Noble "lose money" by not supplying us with FREE books that we love? Are you going to go out and purchase more books from their website after finding a good Free Friday book? I didn't think so... The fact that they supply free books at all is wonderfully generous, and if each and every one of them pleased the users, that would be astonishing. Some people do not understand how economics work... Thank you for the historical fiction, B&N! As an adament user of the Nook, I do enjoy these kinds of romances over the contemporary romance novels, but different readers enjoy different books. If you were to change things up in the weeks to come, I would recommend throwing a science fiction or humor novel into the mix (if you can acquire the rights to a good one, which most likely factors into the decision). Thanks again for free fridays, regardless of the choice!

    6 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2013

    I love historical fiction!!! This is a wonderful choice

    This is an excellent choice for "free Friday" All you complainers & whiners out there, cease & desist! They have offered kids books. Besides, we adults are the ones who purchase the vast majority of books as well as nooks. Kids have too much catered to them anyway. It's about time we grown-ups get our "free lunch". Too many children are spoiled rotten nowadays. They are darn lucky if they even have an e-reader. We would be better off if they weren't chatting and role-playing on their nooks,and stuck with their schoolbooks and BORROWED books from the library. Leave these electronic devices to peoplewho can use them responsibly!!! Thank you Mr.Forrester for a truly enjoyable read laced with a dash of history. And a MAJOR thank you to B&N for the privilege of a free book. I for one heartily appreciate this program of "Free Fridays". Please keep it forever; I'll never look a "gift horse in the mouth"! KD

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Dummy

    This book is good. How can yoy talk about a religion like that

    5 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Great book

    The characters are very well developed - even the ones that you want to hate. I loved the story line - following the clues reminded me a bit of the DaVinci Code, but the twists and turns of the story kept me interested!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Enjoyable read.

    I liked this book which was a free Friday selection. It is well written and filled with interesting characters. There is good action. While the story does continue in his next book, I like the fact that the story is complete and you don't have to read the next book to get closure with book one. If you enjoy historical fiction, i would recommend this book. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because I don't have a burning desire to follow the story any further beyond book one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    13 and up

    21 and up thats who its for. Has lots of romance and will make you throw up

    3 out of 84 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    Same old nonsense

    Need better friday selections.

    2 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Great read

    Enjoyed the bits of history and the fast pace

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    An interesting read

    When I was finally able to get into the story, it was interesting. The final message I got from it is something I agree with. You'll have to read it to find out what the message is and if you agree with it or not. Enjoy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2013

    Well written and free...

    I enjoyed this book. I felt the author did a great job of mixing historical events with fiction. Im Catholic and I dont understand how this offensive to others to interfere with their assessment of the book. Leave the religion out of it...the time that the author wrote about was a very dangerous time spiritually and politically. He did a good job of portraying it. Well done and i enjoyed it more that it was free! Thanks B and N!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    A "Da Vinci Code" style thriller

    Set in mid 16th century England, Sacred Treason pits Clarenceux King of Arms and the legacy of Henry Machyn, against Francis Walsingham and Sergeant Richard Crackenthorpe in a brutal race to find a book that challenges the legitimacy of the Queen of England. Clarenceux and Machyn are a Catholics at a time when the Church of England is actively trying to eliminate the Catholic faith from England. Machyn has been entrusted by the Knights of the Round Table to protect a book which contains information that could dethrone the Queen of England and cause Mary, Queen of Scots, to ascend to rule all of Great Britain. One of the first problems is that Machyn is killed protecting the book and leaves Clarenceux only a cryptic riddle to find the book and understand it's contents.
    Walsingham doesn't know what's in the book either except that it challenges the current regime and hence anyone involved with it are traitors. Crackenthorpe is Walsingham's henchman and is absolutely brutal in the execution of his duties.
    Forrester, I believe, accurately describes the conditions and culture of the time and tells a compelling tale. Set in mid winter, his descriptions of the conditions actually made me feel cold. There are some brutal scenes, but then again, it was a brutal time in history. The Catholic/Protestant angle provides a subtle context for the rest of the story and is really only there for background. If you like historical fiction, I really think you'll like this book!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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