Martyr (John Shakespeare Series #1)

Martyr (John Shakespeare Series #1)

by Rory Clements


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Martyr is the first installment in Rory Clements' acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare series of Tudor spy thrillers. Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award, "does for Elizabeth's reign what CJ Sansom does for Henry VIII's" (Sunday Times).

England is close to war. Within days the axe could fall on the neck of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Spain is already gathering a battle fleet to avenge her.

Tensions in Elizabeth I's government are at the breaking point. At the center of the storm is John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer in the secret service of Sir Francis Walsingham. When an intercept reveals a plot to assassinate England's "sea dragon," Francis Drake, Shakespeare is ordered to protect him. Busy fitting out his ships on land, Drake is frighteningly vulnerable. If he dies, England will be open to invasion.

From the splendor and intrigue of the royal court to the sleek warships of Her Majesty's Navy and the teeming brothels of Southwark, Shakespeare soon learns that nothing is as it seems . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062356321
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/21/2014
Series: John Shakespeare Series , #1
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 1,009,276
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

After a career in national newspapers, Rory Clements now lives in a seventeenth-century farmhouse in Norfolk and writes full time. When not immersing himself in the Elizabethan world, he enjoys village life and a game of tennis with friends. He is married to the artist Naomi Clements-Wright. There are five books in the John Shakespeare series of Elizabethan mysteries: Martyr, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Award; Revenger, which won the 2010 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award; Prince, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award; Traitor; and Monarch. All are published by John Murray. A TV series based on the books is currently in development.

You can find out more about Rory, his writing and the world of John Shakespeare on his website and at

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Martyr 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1587 Queen Elizabeth considers the consequences of executing her prime rival Mary, Queen of Scots vs. keeping the threat of revolt by leaving her alive. At the same time, English spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham learns of an assassination plot from a reliable source that the Spanish want to kill naval hero Sir Francis "El Draque" Drake; his murder would cause havoc in the country as he has caused trouble for Spain and known for sailing aroud the world. Walsingham assigns assistant secretary and chief intelligencer John Shakespeare to investigate the scheme and quickly concludes the Drake plot is tied to the murder of a relative of the Queen Lady Blanche Howard, whose corpse mutilated with numerous stabbings was found in a London fire. John's inquiries angers the Queen's loyal supporter Richard Topcliffe, who uses torture to obtain confessions from Her Highness' enemies especially Catholics. Richard warns John to back off or he will come after Shakespeare's father, who empathizes with Catholics, and insure his brother's writing and acting career fails. This is a superb Elizabethan thriller starring Will's older brother John just prior to the execution of Mary and a tear before the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The investigations into the murder of Elizabeth's cousin and the conspiracy to kill Drake are top rate especially the way Rory Clements ties them together. With a deep look at the era as well, Elizabethan period and historical mystery fans will appreciate this delightful novel. Harriet Klausner
SaraPoole on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A deft and very pleasing historical mystery that takes us into the byways of Elizabethan London in the company of Will Shakespeare's imagined elder brother, John. The plot is complex enough to be engaging, the pace is spot on, and John is a likable guy with enough shadows to make him interesting. I hope to see more in this vein.
ElaineBooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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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reviewerMR More than 1 year ago
As a fan of historical fiction i found this book to be an excellent mystery, with plenty of action and interesting characters.