Review: The Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester


The Roots of BetrayalThe Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts and Comments on the Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester
I find the reign of Elizabeth the first, an intriguing period of history; it is so full of religious conflict, conspiracy, and assassination, this latest piece of historical fiction I have just read is the first I have read from author James Forrester. His excellent sense of time and place portrays the spirit of this age in history and he scatters it with impressive storytelling, which colourfully brings to life the characters within it. The Roots Of Betrayal follows on from James Forrester’s greatly acclaimed book Sacred Treason and you do not need to have read the first book to enjoy this, his latest book, as I haven’t and I find that this book is so riveting that I cannot wait to read Sacred Treason.
It is 1564 and Catholic Herald William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, is the guardian of a highly perilous document. When it is stolen, Clarenceux immediately suspects a group of Catholic sympathisers, the so-called Knights of the Round Table. Francis Walsingham, the cold-blooded protégé of the queen’s Principal Secretary, Sir William Cecil, intercepts a coded message from the Knights to a Countess known to have Catholic leanings. He is convinced that Clarenceux is trying to use the document to advance the cause of the Catholic Queen. And soon Clarenceux enters a nightmare of suspicion, deception, and conspiracy. Conflict and fear, compounded by the religious doubts of the time, conceal a persistent mystery. Where has the document gone? Who has it and who really took it? And why? The roots of betrayal are deep and shocking: and Clarenceux’s journey towards the truth entails not just the discovery of clues and signs, but also the discovery of himself.
As the novel twists and turns its way to a dramatic conclusion it includes superb images of 16th century London and Southampton, plus Calshot Fort (which still stands), and some meticulous and very credible imagery of the life and battles of a ruthless pirate, Raw (Ralph) Carew who is known as the Robin Hood of the seas. Carew along with his ferocious gang terrorise the high seas to pillage other ships. Throughout the course of the story their paths cross, and Clarenceux finds himself aboard Carew’s ship fighting beside this brutal crew of pirates, Clarenceux forms a kind of union with Carew which lasts all the way through the book.
The Roots of Betrayal is flawlessly researched, as you would suppose from a historian who studies Elizabethan England as his calling. Forrester makes use of this research to good effect to bring the Elizabethan age to life, still the book reads like fast paced adventure movie at times and the speed of the narrative under no circumstances decelerate.
The author’s note at the end of this yarn warns the reader against believing The Roots of Betrayal is a true historical novel and as he is the esteemed historian Ian Mortimer writing under the pen-name James Forrester, we’d do well to pay attention to him, Roots of Betrayal is absolute fiction, and a rollicking illustration of imagination at that.
I found this to be such an effortless book to read, it is knowledgeable and riveting and very hard to put down, the people in the book are brought into existence with just a few words and the setting he summons up of London are fascinating, I have no problems recommending this book to anyone and everyone who crave for a rollicking good story.

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