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Publisher's Summary

The year is 1587. One of Queen Elizabeth's cousins is found murdered, her flesh marked with profane symbols. A plot to assassinate Sir Francis Drake, England's most famous sea warrior, is discovered. One man is charged with the desperate task of solving both cases: John Shakespeare. Shadowed by his rival, the Queen's chief torturer, Shakespeare travels through an underworld of spies, sorcerers, whores, and theater people---including his younger brother, the struggling playwright Will---to piece together a complex conspiracy, the implications of which are almost too horrific to contemplate.
For a zealous and cunning killer is stalking England's streets. And as Shakespeare threatens to reveal the madman's identity, he and the beautiful woman he desires come ever closer to becoming the next martyrs to the cause.
©2008 Rory Clements (P)2009 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"Excellent.... The characters, action and period detail are all solid." ( Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By vanessa on 08-16-09

Excellent Thriller/Mystery, Flawless Narration

Ordinarily, I am leery of historical settings but this novel was an absolute joy. The story moves fast, is filled with interesting and believable characters, and thrilling action. Our hero's playwright brother is mostly refreshingly absent and the Elizabethan setting serves as the perfect backdrop for this gritty spy novel.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sharon on 11-25-09

Great Entertainment

This ripping yarn is a first-rate historical novel and a gripping mystery, read by the excellent Simon Vance. Usually, I don't care for blending fact and fiction, but this one pulled it off through a complex, tangled plot and expert storytelling. I couldn't recommend it more highly!

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13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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