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Clements, Rory - 'Prince'
Hardback: 432 pages (May 2011) Publisher: John Murray ISBN: 1848544251

It is Spring 1593 and England is awash with rumours and intrigue. The plague rages across London and Queen Elizabeth's courtiers are scheming and Spain watches and waits in the shadows...

There is a lot discontent amongst some of England's general indigenous population with the tides of immigration of Dutch and French people taking refuge and bringing their new skills and this is causing resentment from many of those already living here. Certain right-wing political groups and the limited news sheets of the time, further antagonise the population with false stories highlighting the immigration situation. A bomb goes off in a Dutch church in London and a second one is exploded in a Dutch immigrant market and leads to a tragedy for protagonist John Shakespeare. Shakespeare is anxious to discover the perpetrators of bombings. He is employed by Robert Cecil, an Elizabethan courtier, who will do anything, it seems, to outwit his rival, the Earl of Essex in influencing the Queen with his latest information. Shakespeare is asked by Robert Cecil to discover from associates of the Earl of Essex, information that may lead to a resolution of what is behind a plot to influence Queen Elizabeth. At the same time, a close friend of Shakespeare, "Bolt foot" Cooper is persuaded to use his talents to join a right-wing group who may be behind the bomb plot.

The story is very well researched, the author evokes the setting with some sixteen-century technical words which puzzled me initially, but I found he gives a full explanation in the glossary on his website As a former newspaper journalist, the author is experienced at researching his stories out before committing them to paper and this very detailed research proves to be the key to his success as an author.

Shakespeare and Cooper, have many exciting and thrilling adventures before this very well-plotted, erudite, historical mystery reaches its sensational conclusion. This book has a very well thought out, dramatic but complex plot, with many twists and turns which make for a very vivid and fast moving story line. He does not allow you to get too settled in reading the story before it moves off in a complete new direction. It was a very absorbing read with a real quality, similar in style but perhaps faster moving, than books by James Forrester or C J Sansom. As a reader I was completely transfixed whilst reading it and did not want it to end. I consider it one of the best books I've read this year. I will certainly look out for more stories by this very talented writer.

Read another review of PRINCE.

Terry Halligan, England
July 2011

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 27/04/2012 18:58