Saturday, 1 May 2021

#BlogTour The Heretic's Mark by S.W. Perry


It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the fourth book in the Jackdaw Mystery series - The Heretic's Mark by S.W. Perry.

About the Author
S.W. Perry was a journalist and broadcaster before retraining as an airline pilot. His debut novel, The Angel's Mark was listed for the CWA Historical dagger and was a Walter Scott Prize Academy Recommended Read 201. he lives in Worcestershire with his wife. 



About the book
The Elizabethan world is in flux. Radical new ideas are challenging the old. But the quest for knowledge can lead down dangerous paths...

London, 1594. The Queen's physician has been executed for treason, and conspiracy theories flood the streets. When Nicholas Shelby, unorthodox physician and unwilling associate of spymaster Robert Cecil is accused of being part of the plot, he and his new wife Bianca must flee for their lives.

With agents of the Crown on their tail, they make for Padua, following the ancient pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena. But the pursuing, English aren't the only threat Nicholas and Bianca face. Hella, a strange and fervently religious young woman, has joined them on their journey. When the trio finally reach relative safety, they become embroiled in a radical and dangerous scheme to shatter the old world's limits of knowledge. But Hella's dire predictions of an impending apocalypse, and the brutal murder of a friend of Bianca's forces them to wonder: who is this troublingly pious woman? And what does she want?


Review
This story reminds us, the readers, how far Shelby has come over the years. From a devastated man consumed by grief to an incidental chess piece in the contentious political landscape of Elizabethan England.

This time he has become the target of a deadly campaign of vengeance, one that can end with his painful death and his loved ones in the same dangerous position. His reluctant kinda benefactor and spymaster Cecil suggests he leave the city post haste, which is where the story veers in a different direction altogether. 

On the run with his new wife Bianca they are joined by a young woman called Hella who straddles the veil. Her predictions rattle the science based thinking of the medical man and put them in more danger than the situation they left behind in England.

I think if you know your history - not that you have to to enjoy this fantastic historical crime fiction, then you appreciate the way the fiction is woven in with the historical facts. Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, a favourite of Elizabeth I and the stepson of her reported paramour, Robert Dudley. The second Earl of Essex was quick to use his import and influence at court to rid himself of opposition or perhaps in regards to his own violent fate - to weaken the position of the queen.

This plot, with Shelby as the innocent man accused, links into the actual facts of the tragic fate of Dr Roderigo Lopez, the queen's physician. A victim of malice and deceit. One of many who fell foul of the machinations and the political aspirations of a man on his own path towards self-destruction.

Perry is on par with the likes of Sansom, however I have to give him his dues, he has established himself as an equal and has become the author others will be and are compared to. The Jackdaw series is an exceptionally good read and is getting better with each book. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this author and the series.

Buy The Heretic's Mark at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Corvus; pub date 1 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Bookshop org.

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