The Chalice

The Chalice

3.86 (1,807 ratings by Goodreads)
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England, 1538. The nation is reeling after the ruthless dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII. Cast out of Dartford Priory, Joanna Stafford - feisty, courageous, but scarred by her recent encounter with rebellion at court - is trying to live a quiet life with her five-year-old charge, Arthur. But family connections draw her dangerously close to a treasonous plot and, repelled by violence and the whispered conspiracies around her, Joanna seeks a life with a man who loves her. But, no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the spreading darkness of her destiny. She must make a choice between those she cares for most, and taking her part in a mysterious prophecy foretold by three compelling seers. Joanna embarks upon a testing journey, and, as she deciphers the meaning at the core of the prophecy, she learns that the fate of a king and the freedom of a nation rest in her hands.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 155 x 232 x 31mm | 548g
  • Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1409133109
  • 9781409133100
  • 777,989

Review Text

A stunning debut. One of the best historical novels I have ever read ALISON WEIR
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Review quote

A stunning debut. One of the best historical novels I have ever read ALISON WEIR THE CHALICE offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page KAREN HARPER, bestselling author of MISTRESS OF MOURNING Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII's reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed C.W. GORTNER, author of THE QUEEN'S VOW Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom's Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease's The Heretic's Wife (2010). BOOKLIST As in The Crown, Bilyeau's writing style means that the story reads almost flawlessly. The narrative really makes the reader throw themselves into the story, and makes it so the book is really difficult to put down. I was really very impressed with Bilyeau's writing (As I was in The Crown), and honestly can't recommend this book highly enough. LOYALTY BINDS ME THE CHALICE is a compelling and pacey time machine to the 16th Century. And when you're returned to the present, you'll have enjoyed an adventure and gained a new perspective on a past you'd wrongly thought to be a done deal Andrew Pyper, author of THE DEMONOLOGIST Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna's character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader's interest on every page. HISTORICAL NOVELIST SOCIETY An utterly enthralling Tudor thriller -- Kate Forsyth author of BITTER GREENS The Chalice is a gripping, tightly-plotted mystery, with a beguiling heroine at its heart, that vividly conjures up the complex dangers of Reformation England. Bilyeau's deftness of touch and complete control over her complex material make for a truly exciting and compelling read ELIZABETH FREMANTLE author of QUEEN'S GAMBIT
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About Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau's acclaimed first novel, THE CROWN, was shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Dagger Award for historical fiction and dubbed 'the year's most impressive debut' by the judging panel. It took five years to research and write. Nancy, a magazine editor, lives in New York City with her family. Find out more about Nancy and her lifelong passion for Tudor history via her website, Facebook/NancyBilyeauAuthor @TudorScribe
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Rating details

1,807 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 26% (478)
4 42% (765)
3 24% (434)
2 6% (101)
1 2% (29)

Our customer reviews

The Chalice is the second book in the Crown series by historical fiction author Nancy Bilyeau that takes place during the reign of King Henry VIII. While I haven't yet read the first book in the series I can say that The Chalice can be read successfully as a standalone but it was so good I'm definitely going to have to borrow The Crown to get more of the author's writing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Chalice. Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres so it was a real treat to be invited to join the tour for this novel. Rarely have I read a novel that brings this era of England's dark history to life in such a rich and imaginative way that is both captivating and depending on the scenes, disturbing and dark as well. While I read about Joanna's tale I became completely immersed in the story. For me if an author is able to suck me into the story from the very beginning like Nancy Bilyeau did while I read The Chalice that's a sing that she's an author to watch and after finishing this book I can honestly that Nancy Bilyeau can write anything and I'll read it. I loved the characters in The Chalice. Joanna is probably one of my top 5 favourite historical fiction heroines ever. Her intelligence, cunning, caring and kind personality really counter balanced the dark undertone of the novel. I was surprised to find that rather than use the side characters more as props to the story the author used them to their full potential making them all integral to the telling of the overall tale which I loved. I love when there's a rich variety of characters that have some real substance to them even if they're the bad guys. I also learned a lot about being a lady in waiting and the customs of going to court as well as other things about life during the tumultuous time period The Chalice was set in. You could tell right away that the author takes her craft seriously and you can tell that she's researched the time period thoroughly and that she has a great passion for her work. The amount of detail in the novel was fantastic and was neither too much or too little and I feel as though I learned something reading The Chalice which is not something you can say about just any novel. The story itself though blew me away. The amount of intrigue and betrayal is potent and the plots abound in The Chalice. While there is the brief mentioning of events that have taken place in the first book I didn't feel like they spoiled the first book for me and I'm glad that I was able to take part in the book tour for The Chalice. Overall, Nancy Bilyeau wrote a fantastic piece of historical fiction that is both lovely and brutal. I would recommend this book (and the first one even though I haven't had the pleasure of reading it yet) to anyone who loves historical fiction. This is a fantastic novel to read and will such you in from the first page. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my free and honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are 100% my more
by Kimberly Roy
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