Gloriana's Torch

Gloriana's Torch

3.94 (184 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
By (author) 

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1587 and the Spanish are preparing to launch the Armada, their Holy Enterprise of England, to rescue the English from heresy and Elizabeth, their Witch-Queen. Ex-soldier David Becket, now responsible for the Queen's Ordnance but struggling to deal with his tortured past in the Tower of London and on the battlefields of Europe, discovers that large quantities of gunpowder are going astray. Can someone in the heart of the English government be selling it to the Spanish? Unaccountably he is plagued by vivid dreams of England invaded, an alternative story where the Armada is victorious. Simon Ames, Becket's old friend, has been captured by the Inquisition in Lisbon as he attempts to elicit vital information for the Queen. His wife, Rebecca; a black slave, Merula, and Becket are permitted to rescue him on one condition. They must also infiltrate the Spanish fleet and unravel the riddle of the Miracle of Beauty. But Simon has been sentenced to work as a galley slave on the Armada and, chained to an oarbench, is now bound for England.Patricia Finney's brilliant reworking of the Armada legend is an imaginative tour de force and illustrates how different England's history could have been had the Spanish landed.
Thrilling, intricate and inspiring, this is a tale of gods, of courage, of love, and, ultimately, of redemption.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 464 pages
  • 152 x 234 x 28mm | 683g
  • Orion Publishing Co
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0752860623
  • 9780752860626

Review quote

"One of the most extraordinary novels that I've read this year. [Finney] keeps her plot driving forward, combining terrific suspense with a kind of wild history safari... The muscular poetry of her writing lights up with the sheer glee of invention and gives readers a rare feeling of living other lives in other times." Mat Coward, MORNING STAR, 22/12/04 'an action-packed historical thriller...' WOMAN'S OWN 15/9/03 'A substantial and historically-satisfying book', September 2003 'Finney takes us into the 16th century with conviction, giving us a vivid account of the sights, sounds and smells of London, Lisbon and life aboard the Spanish galleasses, while building up to a soaring denouement as the Spanish fleet makes its way towards the English Channel. A superb piece of historical writing.' GOOD BOOK GUIDE, 1 October 03 '[Finney writes] wonderfully atmospheric Elizabethan thrillers... Finney explores how very differnt England would be had the Spanish invasion succeeded' GLASGOW EVENING TIMES, 4 October 03 '... the books' language is a triumph... [Finney] is good at villains with complex motives. Her unpreparedness to compromise with her prose is yet another of her passionate intensities.' THE INDEPENDENT, lead review by Roz Kaveney, 26 November 03
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About Patricia Finney

Patricia Finney has been writing since she was seven. Her first novel, A SHADOW OF GULLS, was published when she was eighteen and won the David Higham Award. Since then she has had a variety of jobs which have included editing a medical journal and writing a weekly TV preview column in the London Evening Standard.
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Rating details

184 ratings
3.94 out of 5 stars
5 37% (68)
4 34% (62)
3 20% (36)
2 7% (12)
1 3% (6)
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