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Om forfatteren

Martin Stephen is High Master of Manchester Grammar School.


Værker af Martin Stephen

The Galleons' Grave (2005) 26 eksemplarer
The Rebel Heart (1641) 16 eksemplarer

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It is 1588 and young Henry Gresham has been caught up in the intrigues of the Elizabethan court whose members jostle for position and favour as thoughts turn to possible succession. Many in the court, seemingly led by Robert Cecil, the son of Queen Elizabeth's first minister, Lord Burghley, resent Gresham's youth, enormous wealth and good looks but its his position as one of Sir Francis Walsingham's vast network of spies that really threatens his life.

Meanwhile King Philip of Spain has assembled the greatest fleet of ships and the most powerful army in Europe as he strives to bring an end to the reign of Queen Elizabeth and return Britain to the Catholic faith. Gresham, along with his faithful servant/ companion Mannion, finds himself firstly sailing with Sir Francis Drake on his attack on Cadiz to gain first hand knowledge of his capabilities as a commander and later on the flagship San Martin of the Armada under the command of the limited but brave and chivalric Duke of Medina Sidonia. But whose side is Gresham really on?

Although this is the third book in this series in publication order its the first in chronological order. The novel is an interesting mix of historical fact and fiction, whilst Gresham, Mannion and Anna are fictional most of the other major characters within are real historical figures. Martin Stephen is/was High Master of St Paul's Boys' School in London and author of a number of titles on military history, unfortunately this book reads like it IMHO. It's obvious that Stephen has done his research, as shown in the brief historical notes at the back, but I felt that the prose felt dry and distant, lacking any real passion but worse of all I felt absolutely no empathy towards Gresham. That's not to say that I found this a bad book, simply not a great one and I'm usually a fan of historical fiction. English teachers usually teach history from an English point of view meaning that I found it particularly interesting to be on the flagship of the Spanish Armada as it sailed up the English Channel and it did make me go and google the other characters which can't be all bad.
… (mere)
PilgrimJess | 1 anden anmeldelse | Apr 19, 2024 |
Sir Henry Gresham is a spy with an ambivalent relationship to Robert Cecil, James I & VI's Chief Secretary and spymaster. So his suspicions are aroused when Cecil sends him off on a wild goose chase concerning Francis Bacon although rumours are rife in London of a Catholic plot. If Catesby was as much of an egomaniac as his portrayal here, his ghost must be spitting in fury every bonfire night at the fact that Guy Fawkes is the one who is remembered and burned in effigy every year rather than him.

I will definitely be reading the second Henry Gresham novel at some point.
… (mere)
isabelx | Mar 15, 2011 |
After the Jacobean settings of the first two books in the series, "The Galleons' Grave" returns to an earlier time in Henry Gresham's life, when he was involved in spying on the Spanish in the run-up to an attempted invasion of England.

I felt that it fell a bit flat compared to the previous books' investigations into the gunpowder plotters and the question of who wrote Shakespeare's plays. Too much time was spent on interminable sea journeys, there wasn't enough action and Gresham's ward was just irritating.… (mere)
isabelx | 1 anden anmeldelse | Mar 15, 2011 |
Sir Henry Gresham is summoned by the dying spymaster Robert Cecil to retrieve some of the King's personal letters which could cause his downfall if they were to become public. Following the track of the mysterious bookseller who has the letters leads Gresham to investigate another mystery - who really wrote Shakespeare's plays?
isabelx | Mar 15, 2011 |


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½ 3.4

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