[book review] SJ Parris, Treachery

cover treachery

SJ Parris, Treachery, (London:  HarperCollins, 2014)

There’s a tang of salt in the air as Giordano Bruno and Sir Philip Sidney head to Plymouth in this fourth instalment of his adventures. Drake is about to set out on another quest for fame, glory, and riches, plus of course the opportunity to pull a few Spanish beards … until one of his crew is murdered.

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QotW (86): 26 August 2019

 

man-writing-with-quill-pen

We all have a book in us, right?

I’d hazard that proportionately, more of us who Read (capitalisation intended), and who write blogs, believe themselves capable of writing a book.  I mean, look at The Boar’s Head – just over a quarter of a million words written since its inception in 2016.

So from about Easter onwards this year I was declaring to my older classes with increasing insouciance that this summer, of all summers, was the one that I would spend writing ‘The Book‘ …

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[book review] Robert Hutchinson: House of Treason

cover HUTCHINSONRobert Hutchinson, House of Treason:  The Rise and Fall of a Tudor Dynasty, (London:  Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2009)

Never mind, DBDDBS*, Robert Hutchinson gives us ample material for a new mnemonic in his account of various generations of the hapless Howard Dynasty.

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[book review] Stacey Halls: The Familiars

halls coverStacey Halls, The Familiars, (London:  Zaffre, 2019)

Despite the anachronism of Elizabeth I’s lengthy reign, the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries provide rich pickings for any author attempting to write a feminist exposition of the harsh injustices visited on so many women. 

Perhaps there’s none harsher than the treatment of witches …

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[book review] Dan Jones: The Hollow Crown

jones book coverDan Jones, The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses and the Rise of the Tudors, (London: Faber & Faber, 2015)

Dan Jones’ muscular account begins with Catherine de Valois’ marriage to Henry V in 1420, and ends in 1541, with the brutal execution of Margaret Pole (at 67) by Henry VIII; the final remnant of the Plantagenet dynasty to be mopped up by the Tudors.

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[book review] Anthony Burgess: A Dead Man in Deptford

burgess dead man cover

I’ve been known to use A Clockwork Orange as a way of accessing Shakespeare: if you can decipher Burgess’s prose in that, my reasoning goes, Shakespeare should hold few terrors for you – simply apply the same skills.  That’s a dazzling novel.  So I approached A Dead Man in Deptford with some excitement and expectation, stoked by one of the most visually arresting book covers I’ve seen in years.

I wasn’t disappointed.

 

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[book review] Shirley McKay: Fate & Fortune

Fate and Fortune

Shirley McKay, Fate & Fortune (Edinburgh:  Birlinn Ltd, 2010)

This second Hew Cullan mystery begins two years after the events of the first.  It is 1581: Hew has returned to St Andrews on the death of his father, a man rendered a stranger to him through time and distance. 

 

 

 

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QotW (#84): 29 July 2019

armada gods breath
‘God blew and they were scattered’

You almost feel sorry for the Spanish …

Today marks the day when the undeniably mighty Armada, reeling from a night attack by fireships and blocked from retreating down the Channel, was pummelled by English ships and scattered northwards by storms.  Unable to regroup, they tried – and many failed – to get home the hard way, via Scotland and Ireland.

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[book review] Elizabeth & Mary

dunn coverDying in 1587, just as Shakespeare probably got going, Mary Queen of Scots has been a peripheral figure in my reading, writing and teaching over the past few years.  Perhaps unjustly.  In her book, ‘Elizabeth & Mary:  Cousins, Rivals, Queens’, Jane Dunn fascinatingly posits that one queen can only be defined by contrast to her rival.

 

 

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(QotW) #83: 22 July 2019

It’s easy to forget that Shakespeare pre-dates social media …

 

pacino de niro heat
‘No matter what, you will not get in my way …’

‘We’re sitting here like a couple regular fellas.  You do what you do.  I do what I gotta do.  And now that we have been face-to-face, if I am there and I got to put you away?

(pause)

I won’t like it.  But, if it’s you, or some poor bastard whose wife you’re going to turn into a widow, brother, you are gonna go down.’ [a]

What if Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots had met … ?

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