The Heretic by Henry Vyner-Brooks

Book description:

In 1536 it seems the entire known world is changing–strange new lands are discovered and the Reformation is challenging Rome and its power. In England the king’s declaration of a new church and dissolution of the monasteries overturns the customs and authorities of centuries. In the new world order, spies abound and no one can be trusted.

To Brother Pacificus of the Abbey of St. Benet’s in Norfolk, it looks like his abbey alone will be spared dissolution. But this last Benedictine house is mired in murder and intrigue. Then when Pacificus falls under suspicion, more than his own dark past comes to light, while the body count keeps rising. Pacificus’s fate becomes entwined with that of three local children after their parents are arrested for treason and heresy. Protected only by this errant monk, a mysterious leper, and a Dutch eel-catcher, the children must quickly adjust; seeking their own identity, they soon find that neither parents nor protectors are quite what they seem.

Based on historical events, this post-medieval mystery is laced with romance, fueled by greed, and punctuated with bouts of feasting, smuggling, and jailbreak.

My review:

One of the reasons why I love reading historical fiction so much is because I always learn something.  I was really excited to read this book because I freely admit that my education was lacking about events in England in 1536.  I was impressed with the depth of information Vyner-Brooks included in the book and the way he brought the characters to life.  I learned a lot in the course of reading this book.

When the book arrived in the mail, I was overwhelmed by the size of it.  It is a really long book!  I have to admit that I was completely lost at the beginning of it.  The story takes off and introduces a lot of characters in the first few pages and I found myself wondering who the important characters were going to be and what was going on.  Eventually it all came together and I was able to determine what was happening.  I probably would have enjoyed this book more if more background information was given at the beginning, but I freely admit that it was probably due to my ignorance of the time period and not due to any deficit on the part of the author!

If you are a fan of historical fiction, you will love this book.  The length of it really gives you a chance to immerse yourself in the time period and in the lives of the characters so you really feel like you get to know them.  I recommend it for a long enjoyable weekend of reading while being curled up in front of a fire!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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