Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sacred Treason by James Forrester

Sacred Treason is a riveting historical fiction thriller set during one of my favorite time periods, Tudor England during the reign of Elizabeth I. William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, is interrupted in the night by a knocking the door. Fearful that his religion (Catholicism) has been discovered and that he is to be taken away as a traitor, he is at first happy and then puzzled to see an acquaintance, Henry Machyn, a merchant tailor, at the door. Machyn is also a secret Catholic and gives his journal to Clarenceux having him promise to keep it safe and to gather the members of the “round table” together to crack the book’s code. The code will determine the fate of two Queens.

Clarenceux is thus pushed into circumstances that are far beyond his control. With an evil sergeant, Crackenthorpe, after him under Walsingham’s direction to protect Queen Elizabeth no matter the cost, Clarenceux soon finds himself on the run with Machyn’s wife Rebecca. Together they work to crack the code. What is the mystery that can bring the queen down? Will the two survive? Why is Machyn’s journal so important?

I loved the mystery and thought the characters were very well developed. The history of the time was riveting, especially with Forrester’s end notes discussing Machyn’s real journal. I was pleased to discover that this is part of a trilogy and will definitely be reading on in this series. I don’t want to ruin this book by giving away too many details for those that have not read it. I will say though that it was very thought provoking on how if one was of the “wrong” religion during this time period, you always had to be on alert. The “wrong” religion seemed to vary with the season during this time period. It was also disturbing on if you were on the wrong side of the law in this age how torture and other means could be used to get rid of you. There was no fair trial. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Overall, I loved this book. If you are a fan of historical fiction, thrillers, or just a good book, I highly recommend Sacred Treason. James Forrester gave an interesting interview on this blog. To read it, check out this link.

Book Source: Review copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!


  1. Sacred Treason does sound like a thought-provoking mystery-thriller. Excellent review, Laura!

  2. It is excellent - I love historical fiction and thrillers and it was the perfect combination of the two. I can't wait to read the next book!