The Gunpowder Plot

The Gunpowder Plot : Terror and Faith in 1605

  • Paperback
By (author) Antonia Fraser


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A bestselling historian's account of the Gunpowder Plot. With a narrative that grips the reader like a detective story, Antonia Fraser brings the characters and events of the Gunpowder Plot to life. Dramatically recreating the conditions and motives that surrounded the fateful night of 5 November 1605, she unravels the tangled web of religion and politics that spawned the plot.

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  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 30mm | 340.19g
  • 01 Feb 2003
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London
  • 24
  • 0753814013
  • 9780753814017
  • 170,835

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Author Information

Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works, including the biographies MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS (a 40th anniversary edition was published in May 2009), CROMWELL: OUR CHIEF OF MEN, KING CHARLES II and THE GUNPOWDER PLOT (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, THE WEAKER VESSEL: WOMEN'S LOT IN SEVENTEENTH CENTURY ENGLAND (Wolfson Award for History, 1984), THE WARRIOR QUEENS: BOADICEA'S CHARIOT, THE SIX WIVES OF HENRY VIII, MARIE ANTOINETTE: THE JOURNEY (Franco-British Literary Prize 2001), which was made into a film by Sofia Coppola in 2006 and most recently LOVE AND LOUIS XIV: THE WOMEN IN THE LIFE OF THE SUN KING. She was awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2000. Antonia Fraser was made DBE in 2011 for her services to literature. Her most recent book is MUST YOU GO?, celebrating her life with Harold Pinter, who died on Christmas Eve 2008. She lives in London. Visit Antonia Fraser's website at

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Review quote

Press release & copy of THE GUNPOWDER PLOT sent to usual paperback mailing list AND a special list created for this title. Mailing was sent in time to tie in with Bonfire Night. Special mailing list included history, catholic and specialist publications, as well as selected regional press including publications covering Lewes region etc. Press release was also sent to regional radio stations offering competition copies as author is not available for interview. The following regional radio stations will be holding competitions on/around 5th November 2002.BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (Book of the Week 3/11)BBCRadio EssexBBC Radio NewcastleBBC Radio WM Coventry & WarwickshireBBC Radio MerseysideBBC Radio SolentBBC Midlands Late ShowBBC Radio KentBBC Radio GM

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Review text

We can always expect a good book from Antonia Fraser; and in The Gunpowder Plot she excelled herself. This is a clear and engrossing account of the attempt to blow up the English Parliament in 1605. In examining the mysteries surrounding the discovery of 36 barrels of gunpowder and a tall man wearing a dark cloak in the store-room of a house in Westminster in the early hours of that November morning, Antonia Fraser unravels the confused and wrong-headed motives of the plotters and paints a convincing picture of Robert Catesby as the prime mover of the assassination attempt. Guy Fawkes has shouldered all the blame down through the centuries through an accident of history. He was caught, the others were killed. The author also vividly portrays the world of the recusant Catholics such as Lady Vaux, risking themselves and their families for the sake of 'a Mass in the corner'. She gives short shrift to those pragmatic Catholics who tempered their beliefs for the sake of a quiet life. The relationship between King James and the discreet Catholicism of Queen Anne is skillfully illuminated and the interplay of Spanish diplomacy, court politics and religious bigotry is cogently presented. Fraser has written an absorbing and in parts deeply moving book which brilliantly evokes the atmosphere of England in the early years of the reign of King James I and shows herself once again to be one of our finest narrative historians. (Kirkus UK)

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