Friday, March 15, 2013

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era.

In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…

Hardcover, 496 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Touchstone
personal library

This is one of those books, you know the one?  It's the one that very early on you stop for a sec and just sit in awe, marveling at the talent of this author.  You can just tell with the flow of the words, with the vivid pictures forming in your mind, that this is going to be one of those books that will stick with you long after you are finished. Not just because of the wonderful story (because this is a WONDERFUL story), but also because of the amount of work you know went into it.  The amount of research that had to be done and then writing the story made me realize that this is an author with some serious talent.  It's like a jigsaw puzzle, where every piece fits together perfectly with no bent corners, missing or forced pieces.  I can picture a huge bulletin board, full of sticky notes of 'who is who' and 'who did what', then with string connecting the notes making sure each sticky note was put in the proper place.  With this book all those notes were perfectly positioned, there were no disjointed scenes or out of place story lines.  It flowed so nicely that I had a hard time putting it down.

We all know the stories of Henry VIII and his wives, but with The Chalice (set after the death of Queen Jane) this was a story that showed a darker side to Henry VIII's reign, there was suspense, romance, religious, spiritual elements, mystery along with the supernatural stuff, action and so much more packed into this book.  Not a small book, close to 500 pages, but worth everyone of them.

The first book in the series The Crown was just as good and I am hoping that there will be a third because I miss Joanna already.

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