Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Pub date: 30 April 2020
Description from Amazon
The Virgin Queen is dying. She has yet to nominate an heir.
The crown looks set to fall to James of Scotland.
But it is far from inevitable.
Gowrie, a sinister Scottish traitor, has arrived in England. On him is a document containing a shocking secret that will compromise King James.
Languishing in prison, artful thief Ned Savage is freed by his patron, the queen’s principal secretary, Sir Robert Cecil. His mission is to find the document before it can be made public. If he succeeds, his life will be spared.
But he is not alone in seeking Gowrie.
On his trail are a ruthless gang of conspirators. The Red Cross Plot aims to prevent any foreigner from taking the English throne. And the Knights of the Red Cross will kill to secure the document.
In a journey that will take him from London to Derbyshire and Scotland, Savage must foil the Red Cross Plot, protect King James’s darkest secret, and keep himself safe from execution.
And he must do it all before the curtain falls on Elizabeth’s reign.
As we are thrust into the end of the Elizabethan era, Veerapen brings us a fantastic mystery that blends history and fiction perfectly, a talent which is shown in the books I’ve previously read.
Edward (Ned) Savage has found himself in service to Robert Cecil but he has a secret of his own and he’s certainly not the only one with secrets.
This book is full of intrigue and twists that keep a fast pace throughout. The main plot isn’t the only part that has twists making this a very exciting book to read.
I couldn’t stop reading this, I loved the dialogue especially that of the Scots and the Londoners. The descriptions of the clothes and the courts were great and very detailed, I could imagine myself standing in attendance to Robert Cecil or walking through a quiet Edinburgh street.
There’s some great colourful characters in this, I loved Ned and Faith and hope to read more about them both. Robert Cecil is depicted just as I’d expect and I admire his intelligence greatly. Not forgetting Shakespeare’s appearance and lastly Ford, a character who Veerapen develops nicely through the events.
I don’t want to give anything away but I certainly wasn’t expecting the ending! Veerapen manages to create suspense whilst still providing a final twist, it’s an excellent read.
This is not the first book I’ve read by this author and it certainly won’t be the last, Veerapen is talented at using his research in to history and weaving in a fabulous thriller.
Veerapen provides an author’s note at the end explaining his ideas and offering further reading for those interested, something I’ll be using!
Succession is available here
I’m also very excited to say Steven Veerapen has agreed to a guest post which will be coming very shortly!
For those who like the sound of this book I can also recommend The Queen’s Spies omnibus.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases