“Fawkes is the perfect mix of history and magic.” —Cynthia Hand, New York Times bestselling author of My Lady Jane
Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.
Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.
But what if death finds him first?
Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.
The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.
The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.
No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.
“I was up late in the night reading, waiting to get to the fifth of November to see how the plot would actually unfold, and it did not disappoint. An imaginative, colorful tale about choosing for yourself between what’s right and what others insist is the truth.” —Cynthia Hand, New York Times bestselling author of My Lady Jane
“Hold on to your heart as this slow-burning adventure quickly escalates into an explosion of magic, love, and the truth about loyalty.” —Mary Weber, bestselling author of the Storm Siren Trilogy
“Fawkes is a tale full of spiritual depth, tragedy, and hope. A beautifully written allegory for the magic of faith, with an achingly relatable hero who pulls you into his world heart and soul. A must-read for all fantasy fans!” —Lorie Langdon, author of Olivia Twist
“A brilliant book that fulfills every expectation. Brandes turns seventeenth century London into a magical place. I was captivated by the allegory of her magic system and how she blended that fantasy with history. I highly recommend this gripping and beautifully crafted book to all. It will leave you both entertained and pondering matters raised in the storyline long after you’ve finished reading.” —Jill Williamson, Christy Award-winning author of By Darkness Hid and Captives
“A magical retelling of the seventeenth century’s famous Gunpowder Plot that will sweep you back in time—to a divided England where plagues can turn you to stone and magic has a voice. Deft and clever, Fawkes is a vibrant story about the search for truth and issues relevant to us, still, today.” —Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.50(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Nadine Brandes once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the author of Fawkes, Romanov, and the award-winning Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine, her Auror husband, and their Halfling son are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom. Visit Nadine online at NadineBrandes.com; Instagram: NadineBrandes; YouTube: Nadine Brandes; Twitter: @NadineBrandes; Facebook: NadineBrandesAuthor.
Read an Excerpt
I wasn't ready to turn to stone.
I leaned so close to the small wall mirror that my nose left a grease spot on the glass, but I held still. Or tried to. I couldn't control the trembling. The grease spot smeared.
My right eye reflected a bright blue iris, but it was the left side of my face that held me a whisper away from the mirror. Cracked stone blossomed from the chiseled marble that should have been an eye. The ball didn't move, the lid didn't blink. I lifted shaking fingers to my face. Petrification tickled the hairline of my eyebrow. A single infected hair protruded like a stone needle.
The plague was spreading.
I broke off the hair, as though that would help, but I knew better.
"Come sit, Thomas."
I stumbled backward before facing the apothecary, Benedict Norwood. My one friend. Norwood stood at his dented and stained herb table, the backdrop of his curio cabinet displaying rows of green-hued bottles and jars, most of which held some sort of powder, paste, or plant.
He bent over my leather eyepatch, picking at the seam threads with a small knife. Norwood wore his color mask — deep green with gold laurels on the crown. Though no expression painted its face beyond two eye holes and a carved nose, it emitted a sense of calm. I imagined Norwood's hidden expression as one of care and kindness ... like his voice — a balm I'd come to rely on.
I felt naked without the patch covering my plagued eye. If any of the other students at St. Peter's Color School saw me ...
"Norwood, it's spreading." My voice was weak and childish — the opposite of what I needed on the day I was to become a man.
"Barely." Norwood poked a series of holes in the new edge.
My breath quickened. "It's stayed contained within my eye socket the entire past year since I caught the plague. Why would it spread? And now?" Why on the day of my Colour Test?
"Thomas Fawkes, come sit." With a single whisper, he sent a thick olive green thread through the holes of the mask. They tied off in a perfect knot. Norwood muttered another color command and mixed a green paste in a wood bowl beside him. Then he removed his mask and leveled me with a stare so commanding, it left no room for panic.
When he took off the mask, we switched from student and professor to friends. I wiped my sweating palms on my doublet, straightened my cuffs, and sat on the three-legged stool before the counter. He lowered himself onto his own stool, across from me.
I glanced over my shoulder at the closed door. Then to the window leading out to the garden. "Shall we put the eyepatch back on?"
"In a moment. The paste needs to set a little longer." He placed a black cowhide bag on the table and withdrew seven wooden spheres, each painted a different color and none larger than a chess pawn. "Focus on the colors, not the plague. Your Colour Test is tonight."
"Norwood, if I don't bond with Grey then the plague will spread to my brain. If I'm blind, I can't bond with any color —"
"You worry like a woman!" He tossed me the Brown sphere. I caught it with one hand — my reflexes sending my palm up for protection rather than from aim. "Help me polish these."
I halfheartedly snagged a spare rag and rubbed the cloth over the wood. It looked plenty polished to me. Besides, I didn't want to become a Brown. My gaze strayed to the Grey sphere. It sat there. Still. Dull. Mocking me. What if, when I put on my new color mask, Grey didn't bond with me?
"I was nervous my Colour Test, too." Norwood spit on the Green sphere and rubbed it in practiced circles. "When my father handed me my mask for the first time, and I put it on, all fear fled. I looked through the mask at the spheres and, clear as the sun in the sky, Green glowed like a beacon. The moment I spoke its language, it bonded to my mask." His smile grew and I found myself smiling with him. "It was magnificent. When Father passed the color power on to me, it was ... well, you'll understand after tonight."
My hands stilled. Would that be my story? I pictured myself wearing my new mask in a few hours ... and none of the colors glowing. Everyone watching. Father watching. What would I become without a mask? Without color powers?
Servant? Slave? Delivery boy?
No. The plague would spread and I would be consumed by the stone.
"Even if Grey does not respond to your call, another color might. And you need to be ready to speak its language." Norwood rolled the Blue sphere to me. "Go on."
I gave a final polish to Brown. "Brown obeys warmth and smooth authority." My tone came out dull. I set aside the Brown sphere and picked up the Blue. "Blue speech is like poetry — rhythmic and flowing."
"And Green?" Norwood rested a hand on his mask at his belt.
"Requires a calm and pleasant voice. It can sense your stress." Reciting the color languages was like reciting a nursery rhyme. "Is this really —" "What about Red?"
I reached for the Red sphere — a sensitive color and the slowest to respond — but then my hand bypassed it, almost of its own accord. I picked up the Grey sphere, my fingers sliding across its textured surface. "Grey."
Grey obeyed a firm voice. A command, not a request. Confidence. Authority.
I clenched my fist around it so tightly, a knuckle popped. "It has to be Grey. That is all I want." Once I had my mask, I would spend the rest of my life commanding the stone plague to recede from my body.
"There is no cure, Thomas, even if you bond with Grey." He sounded resigned.
"There has to be."
"Others have tried Grey speech —"
"I am not others!" I slammed the Grey sphere onto the table. "I am the son of Guy Fawkes. The blood in my veins is the blood of color warriors." I wanted to say more, but the walls of St. Peter's Colour School were thin. And even in the heat of the moment, I dared not say what type of warriors my family were.
I barely dared to think the word.
Keeper warriors. Keeper defenders. Even though Norwood was a Keeper there was an agreed silence that always hung between us. The war between Keepers and Igniters was too real. That was why I needed to live. To find a cure for my plague — so I could join the fight.
"No matter whose son you are, this is your Colour Test. You must be adequately prepared." He picked up his mask. He pressed it to his face and it seemed to melt around the edges, attaching itself to his skin. Then, with barely a whisper, he spoke to the green paste in the bowl and a thick stream of it spread itself on the inner edges of my eyepatch.
I never tired of watching color power.
A knock on the door. "Benedict?"
I startled, dropping the Grey sphere. It rolled into the folds of a cream-and-green gown. Emma Areben stood in the doorway — her oak brown mask firmly attached to her face with a white rose covering one eye.
I clapped a hand over my plagued eye, but the stiff silence was confession enough of my secret. She'd seen.
The girl who hung on the arm of my greatest enemy knew about my plague.
"I'll be finished in a moment, Emma." Norwood's usually collected voice was stripped of all warmth.
Emma stared a moment longer, then whispered something. The Grey sphere soared through the air and back onto the table. Then Emma backed out of the room closing the door behind her.
Norwood and I sat in silence. Doom had come in the form of an elegant masked lady of sixteen.
My hand drifted down from my eye. "She saw —"
"It's over." I would be expelled on the day of my Colour Test. In front of Father and my peers.
Norwood picked up my eyepatch. "She won't tell."
I leaned forward and he affixed it to my face. "You can't know that. She's with Henry Parker. He wants nothing more than to ruin me. One slip —"
"She won't tell."
The green goo hardened and I adjusted to the stickiness. I tapped the eyepatch. Nothing in my sight changed — I was half-blind already — but I breathed in the safety that came from a hidden secret.
"As you say." I didn't see how Norwood could know what Emma would do, but I trusted Norwood. And worrying would do nothing to help me survive this terrible day. Too much was happening — the spread of my plague, the Colour Test, the arrival of Father who would present me with my mask.
Only with my mask could I bond with a color.
I would finally meet Father. It had been a year since his last letter. He stopped writing when I told him I was plagued. But until today, it hadn't spread. It hadn't infected others. It hadn't done anything but partially blind me. I wasn't endangering anyone.
Perhaps Father was ashamed. After tonight, he would be proud.
What did his mask look like? No matter how many times I'd asked, he never told me the color.
Grandmother was equally tight-lipped and her husband, Denis Bainbridge didn't care.
Tonight, I would know. Tonight, I would see.
Norwood scooped the spheres into a pouch. I rose from the table, but hovered — not quite ready to reenter the drama of St. Peter's Colour School, where I would dress for the dinner and endure Henry Parker's insults and possibly be expelled for my plague.
"I expect Father will be ashamed to see my plague."
Norwood's eyes crinkled in the shadows of his mask eyeholes. "The great Guy Fawkes is traveling across all of England to bring you the mask he carved." He placed a hand on my shoulder. "He ought to be nothing but proud of you."
The great Guy Fawkes. The mighty solider. How could I live up to such a legacy?
"Thank you." I strode to the door, then looked over my shoulder. Norwood still watched me. I grinned and raised my good eyebrow. "Get a firm look at my face, sir. For after tonight, you shall not see it again."
* * *
I tied the final ribbon from my doublet to my breeches — both of which were newly fitted for my coming- of-age day by York's not-quite-finest tailor. I combed my brown hair away from my face as best I could.
In only a few minutes I would descend the steps of St. Peter's Colour School for the last time as a maskless. Father would be waiting. If Norwood was right and Emma kept her mouth shut, I would start my final year of training, complete with color power and mask.
I forced a deep breath. Confident. Commanding. What would it be like to receive my mask? To be considered a man? To hide my infection?
My right eye itched at the word infection. I rubbed it with my knuckle.
"Mr. Fawkes." Headmaster Canon entered my room. Two keys of sky blue crisscrossed the center of his dark Blue mask. St. Peter's coat of arms. I tried not to let my nerves show. I couldn't read his face behind his mask.
Was this it? Was he here to confront me about attending school as a plagued?
"You should be downstairs already, boy. Guests are arriving." His voice was as smooth and singsong as the Blue language he commanded. My fear fled, replaced by relief and then irritation.
Boy. Even today, on my coming-of-age day, the headmaster called me boy? I would not stoop to remind him that I was the son of Europe's mightiest color solider — or that I would receive my mask today and then be his equal.
I perfected my posture and strode past the headmaster to the stairs with a curt, "Sir." Halfway down, my steps slowed. I was about to see Father. My knuckles whitened against the bannister. What would he say about my eye?
I recalled Norwood's words. Father was already proud of me. Norwood was proud of me — and he'd been more like a father to me than Guy Fawkes. I must go into this ceremony confident.
Commanding. I didn't need Father's — or anyone else's — approval.
I entered the sitting room. Dark carved oak paneling covered all four walls, interrupted only by a white stone hearth. A fire blazed inside it, draping a blanket of warmth over me as I entered. My throat tightened, urged to whisper a command to the flame and see if it obeyed.
Of course it wouldn't. Yellow speech was extremely complex and required the crown's permission.
Other hues hummed around me, as though begging me to speak to them. Brown wood beneath my feet. Silver from the candle brackets lining the wall. Woad blue from a fellow's doublet.
Oh to control them all! But I would bond with only one — that was the Keeper way. To lust after multiple was shameless. Greedy. The way of Igniters.
No matter that Headmaster Canon was an Igniter, I would follow the path of my family. After tonight, one color — I prayed it was Grey — would obey my voice.
I am the one you want. I startled and glanced around.
Which one are you? I couldn't place its origin. And that made it the most alluring of all. Could it be Grey?
"Ah, the Cyclops has emerged from its den."
I ripped myself from the search for the mystery color. Three older students hovered by the fire, pewter goblets of wine cradled in their hands. Their masked faces turned toward me.
Henry Parker — the spokesman of the three and as pleasant to look at as a muddied swine — lifted his goblet. His mask was split down the middle by the convergence of two shades of Grey, light and a dark. Threads of Blue, Green, and Brown revealed his bonding with other colors — his Igniter status.
A painted set of black lips resting in a side-smirk gave a final touch to Henry's mask. That little smirk would keep him from ever being taken seriously. Father would know better than to include something so immature as a smirk on my mask, wouldn't he?
I scanned the room.
Headmaster Canon chatted with some strangers near the entrance — both too old to be my father.
My grandparents — Denis and Edith Bainbridge of Timble Hall — stepped into the room, leaving their cloaks with the entry servant. A few professors examined one of the school bookshelves holding tomes about color languages.
Then I caught the curled dark hair. The oak-brown mask. The painted silver eyelashes and a white rose over one eye. Emma Areben joined Henry's crew. I once thought her beautiful — mask and all, despite having never seen her true face.
She'd arrived at St. Peter's a year ago, already masked.
I envied her for never having to take St. Peter's test. The Colour Test was one "student honor" I wouldn't have minded foregoing. She and Henry would graduate tonight after I and my maskless peers told the Colour Test.
She turned her head my way and I darted my gaze to the rest of the room.
Father wasn't here yet. I'd expected him to arrive with Grandmother and Grandfather. I glanced out the window. Rain. That explained his delay.
"Have you decided which colors you'll start with, Cyclops? I suppose you don't care, as long as you have a mask to hide your deformity." After years of Henry's barbs, I should be able to handle them better. But to endure them on my coming of age day ... Why was he present at all?
Teeth gritted, I walked away, mainly so I wouldn't hear Emma's laugh.
I heard it anyway.
I crossed the room to greet my grandparents — the two who had raised me long enough to send me to St. Peter's. Grandmother, her broad-brimmed hat like a crown atop her feathered hair, wore a dark petticoat with a modest neck ruff. Both she and Grandfather wore black — most appropriate for such an occasion. Their masks matched, as was custom for a married couple: river-Blue carved with the swirls and flow of rushing water.
I embraced Grandmother, but when I shook Grandfather's hand, I scanned the entryway for a third person. It was empty save for the maskless servant. His eyes remained downcast. No father to carve his mask.
Where was Father? Was I to receive my mask before the test or was he to present it during?
"Thomas, let's step outside." Grandfather took my arm. "I would have a word."
My knees locked. Outside? For a word? Now? To do so now, and with the rain? It had to be bad news. Now was not the time for bad news.
Grandfather steered me toward the door, but Headmaster Canon called out, "Thomas, come here, boy."
Boy again. Fueled by nerves, my feet obeyed his singsong voice and I left — no, fled — Grandfather's news.
I walked past the testing room. The door hung open, though the interior remained lit by only a candle. The seven color spheres rested in a line on the surface of the table. Awaiting me.
I walked on.
Headmaster Canon led me to the strangers. One man wore a slate-Grey mask at his belt and the other a Brown one textured like tree bark. "This is Master Connor," — the Grey inclined his head — "and this is Master Haberdasher." The Brown held my one-eyed gaze, then the Headmaster went on. "They both seek an apprentice and will join us for dinner and for your Colour Testing."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Fawkes"
Copyright © 2018 Nadine Brandes.
Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nadine Brandes' novel Fawkes puts a fantasy spin on the true story of The Gunpowder Plot, involving an assassination attempt on King James I of England in 1605. Our protagonist is Thomas, the teenage son of Guy Fawkes. The real Guy Fawkes served as explosives specialist during the plot, Thomas is an invention of Brandes' imagination, as is the story of the Stone Plague (obviously, lol). In 17th century London, a plague has been taking over the city. It works much like any other plague you've read of, as far as the speed in which it spreads, but in this instance victims literally turn to stone, little by little, until the infection reaches the airway, forcing them to suffocate and die. Thomas Fawkes is one of the infected. So far he has lost sight in one of his eyes due to the plague, but in his case it is moving slowly so he has a small window of time to seek a cure. From a historical fiction aspect, this is not a bad YA novel. The key details are there, the general world building of 17th century London is well-done. I could easily imagine the characters as they traverse city streets, have whispered discussions in pubs or parlors, the descriptions of the masks themselves was vivid, the character bonds and conversations engaging for the most part. Where this novel fell apart a bit was on the magical end. Those elements could've been a little stronger or just better explained. But because that IS such a integral part of the story, it did cause the rest of the plot to be problematic for me. It's hard to root for characters if you, the reader, are not entirely sure what their motivations are, why these things are important, what makes them worth fighting for. It's not that there's no explanation at all, it's just that man, Brandes makes you WORK for it. This novel is 400+ pages long and it's the chore of the reader to slog through a lot of slow bits to get little nuggets of information regarding this magic system. I finished the book and I'm still not entirely sure I fully grasp what Brandes was going for... and it's not that it's so complex a world, it's that her explanations were messy. Magic mess aside, there are some solid action sequences in this story, would've been nice if there was a little more of that. There's also some good analogy work in the confrontations between Keepers and Igniters, when you apply it to modern day struggles between warring factions -- political, religious, or otherwise. FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
pooled ink Reviews: 3.5 Stars FAWKES takes an infamous plot from history and spins it with magic and war. Loyalties are tested, fates are decided, schemes are crafted in the shadows, and through it all the wind whistles through the gallows reminding them all of what they risk should they fail. I absolutely love the idea of a story inspired by Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot, especially one told with a magical twist, unfortunately the main character Thomas Fawkes annoyed me from the very first page. Still a fun story though and I'd still recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fantasy!
A stunning masterpiece. Melding history and fantasy into an unforgettable story. I can not get over just how much I have come to love this story! There is so much history in this story that I was shocked by how well the author was able to mingle such a rich fantasy aspect to the story as well. This story has so much to captivate the imagination, magic, romance, battles, plots, alliances, and true history! Brandes has created such a world of Colors that makes me believe color speak is possible. I am so impressed I am in a sort of color-daze. The bottom line, if you enjoy YA Fantasy you will fall in LOVE with this story. If you enjoy historical books but haven't been brave enough to give the fantasy genre a try yet...I have a feeling you will enjoy this one. So be brave, give it a try...You may just fall in love with a new author! I received a complimentary copy of Fawkes from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
4.5 Stars ~wonderfuls~ historical fiction-fantasy I first picked up this book, not realizing that it had a fantasy aspect to it. I probably wouldn’t have read it if I would have known that was included. I’ve just not had good luck with that genre. But I’m so glad I read Fawkes, because Ms. Brandes did a wonderful job with weaving fantasy in with real historical events. This makes me soooo excited for her next book, Romanov, seeing as I’m a Romanov fanatic. characters All of Ms. Brandes’ characters were wonderfully done. I especially liked Emma (I was not expecting that plot twist, so great job with that, too!) I felt so sorry for Guy Fawkes at the end, and really throughout the whole novel. themes All the themes throughout Fawkes were wonderfully portrayed. I especially liked how themes about racism were spread throughout, and though not in-your-face, they were blunt and historically accurate. ~not-so-wonderfuls~ N/A ~personal thoughts~ All in all, I really enjoyed Fawkes, and I’m so looking forward to Romanov! Special thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing a review copy.
4 stars- The name Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot were slightly familiar to me but I really knew next to nothing about either of them. I really enjoyed the author’s “history” lesson at the end of the story to give us a better idea of what was fiction and fact. Sometimes life truly is stranger than fiction. This was a very creative story that was definitely not on the light side. It is full of deep themes and sinister plots. There, frankly, is a lot of death in this book, between the stone plague and the many hangings. The concept of color magic was a very creative way to give a spin to the true story of the conflict between Protestants and Catholics. This story will definitely bring up many topics of discussion with your teenager. It is a thought provoking tale that would be great to read in a book club or with a friend. I could see a lot of growth in Thomas, the main character. The story was told from his point of view so it was interesting to read how he processed the events and people around him. Emma was an amazing character and a great role model for young girls. I really liked her. Their discussions were very relevant for today’s teenagers that are seeking Truth and guidance in this world. Admittedly, the one thing that irked me the most in this story was the use of the word “hung”. This is silly really, but I was always taught that a person is hanged and a picture is hung. There are numerous hangings in this book and it bugged me every time the author used “hung” instead of “hanged”. Maybe I was taught wrong? Ok, end of rant. This story was a magical, creative, safe way for the author to broach some pretty weighty topics with teens and I think she did a great job. I look forward to reading more by Nadine Brandes. I received a copy of this book for free. I was not required to post a positive review and the views and opinions expressed are my own.
Great YA Novel I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild, I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a wonderful historical ya novel. I love how it was written to give such graphic visualization of the time that it was written. This is the first book I have read from Nadine and look for to reading other books from her. I plan on sharing this with my 15 old niece I think she will enjoy it as much as I did.
This book. This book was so good. It has me at a loss for words. This isn't my usual genre. I don't tend to really like to read fictional historical novels having to do with actual people from history, but I've been branching out lately. And the books that I have read have all been excellent and have actually deepened my understanding of history even despite the details that are muddled. I think maybe my favorite part of this book was actually the description. It wasn't over the top making me have to sludge through endless details, but the way Brandes described the setting. It was like I was in London with Thomas. Or half blind as Thomas was. Thomas, himself, was a fun main character and while I didn't agree with everything that he did, I was rooting for him the entire time. Emma was a strong heroine and I liked her a lot. White light was the best, I really wish that it had more screen time. Guy Fawkes himself was an extremely complicated character and I wasn't sure what to think of him throughout the entire book. My opinion swayed like a pendulum. But by the end he won me over so thoroughly that he became one of my favorite characters. This is the first book I've read by Nadine Brandes but I have her whole Out of Time series on my bookshelf, and I look forward to reading them, now more than ever. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review, all opinions, however, are my own.
Wow! Not what I expected, but I loved it!! It's like historical fiction and fantasy all in one! I love learning more about history, and in an interesting way. I had heard of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, but didn't really know much about it before. It's definitely not all fun and games, and has some sadness, but a person can learn a lot from this story. Who and what are you listening to? What is truth? Who has the truth? Nadine Brandes has such a neat way of putting things in this story. I So, what are you waiting for? Go buy a copy for yourself, and start reading!
I received an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review. Fawkes is a Historical Fiction based novel with a magic twist thrown in. I know people want to call this a fantasy novel but it is not, read the author's note at the end and she explains how she kept things historically accurate for the most part and then decided to throw in some magical aspects. Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone and he believes his only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father's assassination plot against the king of England. In this magical world people speak to colors and when they come of age the parent of there gender makes a mask and that color is now able to be used for that person. Each person is only linked to there mask and if they break or lose there mask, it's gone. However, Thomas' father is not present in his life and when the father is requested to provide his mask, Thomas is refused. In his anger he makes his way to London to confront his father and he is thrown into an intense world that he did not expect. When people bond with the colors the purists are called Keepers and only bond with one color, whereas Igniters bond with multiple colors and the White which changes their blood. Because of these different color bonding and the plague going on Keepers think it is the Igniters fault, and of course, Igniters think it is Keepers fault. Thomas finds his father and decides to join Guy Fawkes' plot to assassinate the Igniter King who keeps rounding up and slaughtering Keepers. Thomas thinks this will help to cure him until he begins to fall for a girl who is opening his eyes to so many different things. As it comes down to it, no matter the decision Thomas makes someone will get hurt. This fun historical fiction novel takes history and twists it from the religious issues in the early 1600s in England to magic issues, however, maintains a lot of the proper historical information. I would HIGHLY recommend reading the author's note at the end where she explains what she did keep, change and fudge. A wonderful unique novel that was highly enjoyed!
Although there were some aspects of the book that I wish were elaborated, the magic system was really unique, the Stone Plague simultaneously disturbed and intrigued me, and I felt compelled to keep reading by the Gunpowder Plot alone. I kept wondering how far the conspirators would get before getting caught, what their fates would be, and how it would all end. Overall, it was an enjoyable read with an interesting cast of characters and an interesting plot that just needed a better execution. *Read my full review on My Fangirl Chronicles*
Loved this!!! Full 5*s for this from the cover to the story. It has everything I love special magic system, a little bit tiny bit of romance and plot. It's not a perfect book I think the magic system could have been explained a bit more but think black prism. I loved Thomas Fawkes the son of some guy name Guy Fawkes a historical figure I know nothing about but really enjoy the characters actually I loved all the characters and Emma wow LOVED HER! I seriously need more on these two please!
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes has an interesting plot line and world building, but I found the main character, Thomas, boring, indecisive and selfish. I could not relate to this kid in any way! I did enjoy Emma and Guy Fawkes (Thomas' Dad) grew on me. This book would have been so much more enjoyable, if we had a different main character. At age 16 children are gifted a mask from their parents, once worn you bond with a colour; each colour has a different type of magic from each other. Unfortunately for Thomas, his Father, Guy Fawkes, had refused him a mask. Ridiculed from school and expelled in theory, as it's a school for kids with masks, Thomas goes in search for his Father...and finds him in the thick of a rebellion plot. There were two opposing groups, The Keepers and The Igniters. The former believes that each mask and person should only be bonded with ONE colour and that the White colour/power should never be acknowledged or used. The Igniters, the current ruling party however, believe that speaking to the "white" is a necessity, and by doing so they are able to bond with more than one colour, hence more types of magic. Who's right? Who's in the side that will seek out change for the better? As with all rebellions and political parties, they always think they're in the right, and the other side are villains, but as we read on, we find, that sometimes it's simply not just black & white (excuse the pun). I was so excited to read Fawkes, I had seen it everywhere in the blogosphere, and let's face it, I do judge books by it's cover and this book is stunning. Fawkes had so much potential, and it hurts, as I type this, to know it just did not reach it. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is still a gripping YA Fantasy, and somehow, despite the lacking of a likeable and relatable character, it was still an enjoyable read. The story is unique, I haven't read a book with such a different take on magic, the mask and colour magic is very interesting. It's always wonderful when an Author is imaginative enough to think of something new, that'd be hard work considering nearly everything has already been done before, but Nadine definitely does a brilliant job in restructuring and finding balance; just enough similarities and just enough uniqueness to make this story her own. The plot was my favourite part of this book; enjoyable and gripping, there was enough unknown and excitement to keep me turning the pages. Along with the unique story, and different world, recreating 17th century England, was definitely my favourite parts. Writing style was vivid and descriptive, and I found I could imagine the setting well enough through her descriptions. I am still interested to read the sequel to this story, just to know how it progresses, but I do hope it gets told from someone else's point of view. The main character, Thomas, really was the downfall of this novel. I found it hard to really get into the story because he was so unlikable and downright stupid at times. I also wished we had received more information on how the world became the way it was, when the masks and magic came about, what had happened to make Igniters and Keepers turn from each other, and last but not least, when and how did this plague begin, and why turning into a stone? Those are just some of the questions I have for this book. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is a unique story and retelling of 17th century England, with a new world of magic and masks, an
I had been hearing about this book around the blogosphere all summer, and noticed when it showed up on the shelves in the bookstore where I work. Then one night as I was working, the author showed up in my store to see her books on the shelves, as well as maybe autograph them for us. It was so cool to meet her, and of course since she was there, I had to buy a book right away to get autographed. It was a couple weeks after that before I was able to finally pick it up and read it, but it was definitely one that grabbed me from the get-go, and was a wonderfully unique and creative rewriting of a historical time and figure. The author kept me on my toes throughout most of the book with not knowing if Thomas was on the right side in working with his father and the Keepers, or if the Igniters, the ones who wanted people to be able to open up to the White Light when it spoke to them, were the ones we should be rooting for. With the fact that Martin Luther was mentioned in the story, and that I grew up in a Lutheran church school, when he was mentioned, I immediately was pretty sure which side I needed to be rooting for, no matter what that did to my views of the characters as they were and as they related to Thomas. This is the kind of story that always weaves just enough historical details within, without just being the actual history you might read in a textbook, and having obvious changes - magical light and masks, duh - that makes me want to learn more about the time period and people features in the story. Because while I'd heard of Guy Fawkes, I was immediately more interested in learning about his true contribution and involvement in that time period. I loved that the author touched on the history and how she took her own liberties for her story with it in the end section of the book. I can say that this is now an author I look forward to reading more from, and that she will be on my radar for future books.
“Fawkes” by Nadine Brandes is a retelling of the Gunpowder Plot but with MAGIC!!! The story is set in 17th century London. There are two groups of people, Keepers and Igniters. Keepers control one colour and Igniters control more than one colour. There is a silent war going between Keepers and Igniters. Keepers think Igniters are the cause of plague. Igniters think Keepers are the cause of the stone plague. Keepers firmly believe that assassinating King James would put a stop to the stone plague and everyone would get rid of the plague. The story is told by Thomas Fawkes’ point of view. Thomas is affected by the stone plague. All Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And he must do something or he will become a lifeless statue. Even if that means being the part of the Gunpowder plot. It was full of suspense and some sword fights. (I LOVE sword fights!!!) It kept me interested in it from start and till the end. I wanted to see how it will end. Can I say it didn’t disappoint? I liked the character development of Thomas. The story was engaging but at a certain point it felt like it is repeating because it doesn’t have to end now. Like the problem was going to solve and now we are stuck again. That repeated event made me a bit tired. Maybe it was just me. Some of the dialogues were interesting. I liked most of the characters. And yeah, I liked Guy Fawkes too especially in the end. Overall, I enjoyed reading Fawkes. This was the first book, I have read, written by Nadine Brandes. I will read her other books in the future. Things I Liked: All the colour mask and colour power thing Sword fights!!! Thomas and Emma Norwood Thoughts on characters: I liked all the secondary characters. I liked Emma but I didn’t get one thing though. Emma is shown to be a strong character. She is strong in her own way. But she is actually strong in front of Thomas but not in front of Henry or Baron or anyone else.Why? I didn't hate Henry. Yeah, I am weird!! I recommend it absolutely! Love HISTORICAL FICTION? OR Do You Love YA FANTASY? OR Are you looking for a book in which something is accomplished but some part does make you cry? Then, Fawkes by Nadine Brandes is for you! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Fawkes was a good read. It was better than I expected actually. I would give it four stars.
The perfect blend of historical fact and fantasy... Fawkes By Nadine Brandes Thomas Fawkes has only ever wanted his father's attention, approval, and love but when he contracts the plague his hopes seem to be at an end. For a year his father has been silent but with his Color Test upon him, he knows his father will present him with his mask and he will bond with a color. But disappointment seems to be his lot as his father the famed Guy Fawkes again lets him down refusing to present him with his mask or his presence. Maskless, Thomas has no place in school or society - his father has ruined him. Determined to track down his father Thomas makes his way to London. But London is a dangerous place to be when you are maskless and plagued. Those who are masked are either Keepers or Igniters and they are at war. Both sides blame the other for the plague that is making its way across England a plague that is turning the infected into stone. But finding his father only brings new complications as he is involved in a plot to bring down King James on the belief that the plague will be defeated with a Keeper on the throne rather than a king who has Igniter sympathies. Determined to prove himself to father, gain his mask, and rid himself of the plague Thomas agrees to take part in the plot against the king. But when Thomas comes across Emma Areben in London he is confronted with something he never expected - acceptance and a viewpoint on White Light that he never expected. But she is the enemy or is she? Thomas is on a journey to discover the truth for himself if he can discover it. Fawkes is a delightful blend of history and fantasy that will leave the reader enchanted and perhaps on their own quest for the truth about England, the Gunpowder Plot, and Plague that was so feared. Thomas Fawkes is a young man who is on the cusp of manhood when his very identity is denied him. With his future in doubt, he has no choice but to go after it for himself. Emma Areben is the ward of a peer of English society but she has a secret, one that most know nothing of, one that could ruin her in polite society. And the White Light the most powerful of the colors is also the one most fought over - should it be suppressed or should it be wielded. For what it is the White Light is a pivotal force within this story - one that the careful reader will decern as being greater than just a color power to be used at will. This book is as equally well-written as Nadine Brandes previous work the Out of Time series but completely different as this is a historical fantasy fiction instead of a dystopian work. I enjoyed the historical elements that brought this story to life while the fantasy elements added an existing and unexpected twist. The mistrust of both sides against the other just fans the flames of hate and fear as neither is willing to see beyond what they wish to see - which sadly has been a reoccurring theme throughout history. I highly recommend this book perfect for any time reading or a book club setting.
I’m not so much into historical fiction, but if you add fantasy to the equation, I’m sold. Fawkes is not only inspired by true historical events, in this case the gunpowder plot, but it has a creative magic system that adds flavor to the narrative. Story Color power is controlled by speech which in turn can only be effective by wearing a mask given to you by your parents. The influence of the power of each mask is dictated by its color. In Nadine’s words (visit her insta account for pics): Green masks control green things—plants and trees and growing things mostly. A lot of apothecaries are Greens for this very reason. Ironically, this the story about Thomas, a boy that cannot use color power, but most importantly, he doesn’t have a clue about his own father. The one who is the one supposed to care for him and help him in the process to bond with a color. Oddly enough, when he finally gets to find him he’s introduced by Guy Fawkes in a plot to kill King James I. Characters Thomas seemed to me a very polite character, because of his age he obviously has this reckless attitude towards adults and problems. He struggles with the person he wants to become, the person others expect him to become and ultimately the person he is supposed to become once he find the truth about himself. Emma, which belongs to the Igniters, is very interesting character and as you can guess she becomes Thomas’ love interest. The good thing about romance in Fawkes is that it becomes part of the story and not central. Nadine builds a love story slowly through pages filled with big doses of action and political turmoil, giving the readers a balanced story. But Emma is not only that, she’s a character with a personal and difficult story to tell (one that certainly deserves an spin-off). Finally, can I talk about White Light? This may or may not contain spoilers so just be cautious. White Light is a background character that has very little participation but brings deep truths into the view. I liked the way it spoke differently to each character and the way Nadine crafted the story so you can make you own theories. Conclusion Fawkes is a standalone novel, an awesome standalone novel that has the ability to make you part of the gunpowder plot and absorb you into a fictional London filled with magic, intrigue, romance and a search for your identity. If you’re unsure about reading Fawkes because of the fantasy touch, give it a chance and you’ll not be disappointed. I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Fantasy is a genre that I visit the least but I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this book. The use of masks and color powers is very interesting and I also found the stone plague to be unique. Nadine is a very talented writer. She is very good at showing the reader the world without having to describe it plainly. The use of masks and color powers was a bit complex but everything was shown almost as if the reader is watching a movie….there was never a moment where I was confused about what was happening. The way the story is based on historical facts made it even more fascinating. Many of the characters in the story are based on real people from the past. I liked the character of Thomas…he’s struggling with what to believe and trying to prove that he’s no longer a young boy. The relationship between him and his father was also very realistic and sad at times. Emma was a nice addition to the story. Nadine addressed the issue of racism very well. She didn’t shy away from the ugly truths of history but also showed people thinking for themselves about difficult issues. The descriptions in the story were excellent…I felt as though I was walking through the streets of London in the 1600s. There were some graphic descriptions of executions, although difficult to read about, they are historically accurate and necessary to the story. The story was very interesting but I did feel that it was a bit too long for my taste…I think it could have been condensed a bit and packed more of a punch. Overall, this was a great fantasy standalone story. I highly recommend it! My Rating: 3.5 stars I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I really enjoyed this book! It’s based on historical facts including the planned bombing of Parliament by Guy Fawkes and his group. I have read about this plot and really liked how the author brought this into her storyline. The book starts out at a place called a Color School, where young people learn to control color as a magic. Thomas Fawkes is excited because he will be getting his color mask soon from his father, Guy Fawkes, and he’s hoping for gray since he has a plague covering his eye that is gray stone. He is hoping he can control it off of his face. However, the evening that his father is to show up for the mask giving ceremony, he doesn’t show up but instead sends a note saying he will not be there. This begins Thomas’ journey to meet his father in London and demand his mask. There are two different types of people that control color – the Keepers and the Igniters. The Igniters are in control because King James is on the throne and he is an Igniter. Thomas sees the Igniters treat the Keepers horribly, including sending them to the tower to be hung. It all comes down to one thing – the White Light. The Keepers fear it and the Igniters use it. There is so much intrigue in this book! I was never sure who I should be cheering for – the Keepers or Igniters. There were clear reasons for feeling positive about both of them but also reasons for feeling they are wrong. I liked how I was given the chance to come to my own conclusion my own way. I loved the characters of Thomas and Emma. They both tried to do the right thing by their beliefs and also for those that meant so much to them. There were so many surprises and depths to Emma and I really enjoyed getting to know her as Thomas did. Yes, this book has magic, and I know there will be some Christians who feel this is wrong, however, there are no magic spells or evil demons (other than the good and evil we see in our own every day life). These people do not worship magic but use it to create or to work for them in their every day lives. This is a fantasy and, as such, should be looked at it as just a fictional story. I think you can find many wonderful, positive things in this book regarding trying to do the right thing and good conquering evil. I loved this book! The author did such a wonderful job in creating a wonderful fantasy that will be great for young adults as well as adults. The characters are so well developed and so is the story. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This book was provided to me for my honest review by BookLook Bloggers
“But perhaps bravery meant entering into a storm you already knew would destroy you.” Y’all know I can’t resist historical pieces – throw in some fantasy and I’m 100% in. Fawkes by Nadine Brandes was creative, engaging and kudos to trying something not often seen with historical events in novels. Geared towards the YA audience, I still enjoyed the characters, the pacing and how she would work in the fantasy elements. It also made me want to do a deep dive research into King James and the entire Guy Fawkes history. That’s one of my favorite things about reading historically based stories – it opens up a piece of history I might not have thought about before. “It is those who dream of the impossible who end up defying the very word.” If you enjoy history or fantasy (or both, like me!), then be sure to check out Brandes’ latest release. Also, that cover? LOVE IT! Is there a historical event you’d like to see retold? (Thank you to Thomas Nelson for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)
Who will he betray? His father? His king? Wow! Loved, loved, loved this mesmerizing reimagining of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Have you ever loved a book so much, you could wait to talk to your friends about it? Fawkes is the type of book that makes me want to grab coffee with friends to discuss every aspect of how this book manages to pull in so many ideas and ideals, so much of what is true in the world, and how it makes us look differently at so many things. Not to mention, it’s just an awesome story in its own right. (I was so fired up about Fawkes that I gifted it to my BFF and bought my own copy to share it with my daughter, so we could all discuss it.) All the intricacies of the real life Gunpowder Plot weave their way through Fawkes, creating a brilliant tapestry threaded with danger, ambition, and magic. The magic system is a cornerstone of the story, while Thomas Fawkes’ relationship with his father is another. The story opens as Thomas, a boy of 16, is abandoned yet again by his father, whom he has not seen in 13 years. His father is absent at Thomas’s coming-of-age ceremony, in which he was to have presented his son with a mask he created especially for his son’s emergence into adulthood. It is a life-altering lapse that causes Thomas to be expelled from his school, unable to claim his use of magic or finish his education and pursue a profession. Worse than that, it leaves Thomas stranded with no recourse for healing the plague that has turned his left eye to stone. Thomas journeys to London to confront his father and finds himself embroiled in the Gunpowder Plot. It is a journey that takes him from his start as a young, self-centered, frightened, and somewhat cowardly boy to a conflicted conspirator questioning the beliefs and attitudes foisted upon him by others. He is a boy starting to believe there is more to magic and murder than he’s been told, a boy who begins to question the loyalty that he has to men who may have very little loyalty to him or the truth. Fawkes investigates the motives and truths behind the Gunpowder Plot, how it affected our world and what drove it. It is plot fraught with men willing to murder entire groups to bring about a change in their government, while some of the men they intend to murder had been too willing to murder those that they themselves disagreed with. As one character says, “Did murder ever free anyone?” The more you look below the surface of Fawkes, the deeper it gets, touching on racism, bravery, truth, loyalty, love, faith, and fanaticism. As the story progresses, Thomas questions the attitudes that have shaped his thinking: “My culture had affected my thinking without my consent. How many other things had it shaped without my knowing it? It made me want to examine things—to seek the heart of matters. Of skin color, of Keepers, of Igniters, of White Light, of all my assumptions.” “How many of us acted and spoke out and fought for beliefs that we held because our environment told us to? As much as I wanted to blame my England, I knew the blame sat with me. I hadn’t trained myself to discern. To examine. To seek the source.” From Thomas’s struggles to understand the source of magic, he learns to discover and fight for truth. “Shouldn’t I fight for what I believe in?” “It’s not as simple as that. Fighting for what you believe in is too subjective.” … “We need to fight for truth. Your beliefs can be misguided.” “Do you really think there’s some ultimate truth out there?”
This YA novel centers around two brilliant premises. The first is the setting, England on the eve of the Gunpowder Plot (1605) and the origin of Guy Fawkes Day. The second involves a fascinating new system of magic in which power arises from the various colors, focused by specially constructed masks, constructed by the practitioner’s same-sex parent. A third strength arises from the protagonist narrator, son of the conspirator Guy Fawkes, and his inner turmoil as he is drawn deeper and deeper into a plot to blow up King James I’s Parliament. Therein, however, lie the book’s weaknesses. Few Americans, unless they are English History buffs, are familiar enough with the Gunpowder Treason Plot to appreciate the cultural, political, and legal aspects. The plot in the book follows the historical order fairly closely but not always in the most logical fashion. Magic is tacked on to historical events; practitioners use their powers only when they don’t change the way things really happened. But any world in which people wield those powers is going to operate very differently than ours, and that requires careful working through all the implications of those powers, which I see little here. The attempt to translate the historical Protestant-Catholic struggle into a battle between those who adhere to the color system (“Keepers”) and those devoted to the primal White Light (“Igniters”) is awkward and often confusing. The real struggle was based not only in religious dogma but in politics, arising from the establishment of the Church of England with King Henry VIII and consequent independence from Rome. Queen Elizabeth, Henry’s daughter, did much to establish religious tolerance, although even her emphasis on secular loyalty could not eliminate the plots to restore a Catholic ruler. Without the context of the struggle, the rift between Keepers and Igniters, each hating the other for no apparent reason, come across as superficial. This is all the more so because for most of the story, I had trouble remembering which side was which. Everyone has access to the White Light (which is a snappy, smart-ass voice, quite apart from any references to direct experience of the divine, which also strikes me a reversal of the Catholic-Protestant quarrel). Anachronisms of speech and social attitude added to the confusion. Besides the system of magic, this story includes a supernatural “Stone Plague” that infects the victim and gradually ossifies both skin and internal organs, resulting in death. Somehow Igniters have concluded that the plague is the fault of the Keepers and the only way to bring it to a halt is to slaughter all of them. Since no one offers any other explanation for how this disease works, and apparently the magical healers are just as ignorant and incurious, this persecution is arbitrary and baffling. Despite its significant shortcomings, this novel has many appealing moments. If it sends readers to the history books to find out what really happened, or generates conversations about prejudice and religious persecution, so much the better. The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book; my opinions are my own.
Intriguing concept for a young adult book, Fawkes mixes fantasy with a historical fiction plot. Imaginative and inspired, this plot contains enough content for several books. I think I would have enjoyed it more in a series rather than just the one, but then again, maybe that's just because I want to read more. Thomas Fawkes' story is one with many twists and turns, with not knowing who to trust, but in the end emphasizes the importance of truth, God and friends. I was surprised by the amount of lessons and truths that were woven into this book. Some highlights include: the importance of truth; beauty of a soul vs. outer beauty; speak to God and He will respond; the lies of politics and the distortion of truth through lack of perspective; representing God without doing His will; racial differences and how we all have different gifts. Overall, this book is packed with hidden truths and morals that are great to emphasize to our young readers. There is a rather dark discussion throughout the book of killing off the King of England and some lesser characters are hung for treason at the end of the book, I think that it is important to highlight that. *Potential Spoiler* I did find the construct of God speaking to Thomas rather jarring, because there are colloquial and non-time-period terms used such as "awesome" or "hot". I think that God has a sense of humor and definitely tries to connect with people through their culture and language, but since the character was speaking in slightly more historically accurate language, these threw me off. Nadine is an extremely gifted writer with an amazing mind. I look forward to reading her next book, Romanov. Young adult readers (both actual young adults and those of us young at heart) will enjoy this book. If I was to hope one thing, that she might simplify it a little or extend it into a series. :)
This book is wholly unique. I love that they get color masks for color magic. Guy Fawkes is training for his color mask, but he's got the plague. He has been trying to hide it, and only a few know he has it. He sent a letter to his father explaining the situation, and on his color day he never expected his father would not show up with a mask. So he is thrown out and he goes on a dangerous hunt for his father to get his mask. This book is original, unique, fun, exciting, thrilling, and full of adventure. I expect big things from this author in future books! I will be reading more. Amazing!
I was captivated by Thomas' story from the first, and it kept me turning pages to find out what happened to him and the other characters. The book is enjoyable by all age groups, though I think it is billed as Young Adult literature. The story is set upon the historical events surrounding a plot to kill King James of England, though there is an element of magic in the characters' use of Color Power. Layered on are themes of the relationship between Thomas and his father, Guy Fawkes, ( who is built on an historical figure of the same name.) Thomas matures as he realizes his misplaced loyalty to the plotters, and finally begins to obey the White Light, a power above that of either side. For awhile, I was confused about who were the "good guys and the bad guys", but then I think this is one of the book's messages, because Thomas is confused the same way, until he decides to listen to the White Light. This book drove me to find a book on the history of England to find out more about the historical setting. I love it when a book sends me to the dictionary, the encyclopedia, or another book!