Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Martyr by Rory Clements

Rory Clements' first novel, Martyr, is an intriguing crime thriller set in Elizabethan England. John Shakespeare is one of Francis Walsingham's Intelligencers, charged with tracking down Catholics and protecting Sir Francis Drake as England approaches war with Spain. In this novel Shakespeare investigates the mysterious death of one of the Queen's relatives and this drags him into the murky underworld of London and pits him against another of the Queen's powerful agents.

I have been a fan of detective novels since reading Sherlock Holmes as a teenager but have grown slightly tired of the standard crime novel recently so this mystery with an Elizabethan twist was a nice change. In this period there are no need for arrest warrants, information can be extracted through torture and threats while suspects can go missing without trace in the squalid prison system. The reader will find no subtle and scientific inquiry methods here, just rudimentary investigative skills, brutality and corruption; a wonderful change from jaded cops and high-tech forensic experts.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: Siege by Jack Hight

Siege is author, Jack Hight's, first novel, a fictional dramatization of the real-life siege and consequent fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. In this novel historical characters are portrayed in the years preceding the battle of Constantinople and ultimately in the battle for the city itself as well as the aftermath.

This book tells this historical tale from several years before the events of the battle and the author builds the political intrigue in a manner full of suspense. The opening chapters of the book also introduce a set of characters that the reader can believe in, as well as care about, on both the Christian and Islamic factions that are a part of these events. Even though the events preceding the battle perhaps occupy a little too much of this book, this part of the novel is well-written and the reader becomes engrossed in the small events that shape the lives of the main protagonists.