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Gloriana's Torch (David Becket and Simon Ames #3)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  108 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The year is 1587. The Spanish are preparing to launch the Armada against the English and Queen Elizabeth. Ex-soldier David Becket, now responsible for the Queen's Ordnance 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 inva ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published November 9th 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 4th 2003)
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I didn't love this one like I did the first two in this series, Firedrake's Eye and Unicorn's Blood, but I still liked it. Finney excels at details that really paint a picture showing the way things worked in Elizabethan England. If you want to know the mechanics of making saltpetre for gunpowder, you'll find out here (but you might not want to know), and she shows with gruesome specificity just what it was like to be a galley slave in a war fleet (not pleasant -- or survivable, in many cases). ...more
Finney writes wonderful historical fiction. Not only are her characters plausible, the setting vivid and history accurate (to the best of my knowledge) but she gives you things to think about as well. This retelling of the Spanish Armada's failed invasion of England features people on all sides of the conflict, all of whom feel perfectly justified in their actions no matter how heinous. The dream sequences of a successful invasion were so sad I found them hard to read. Now that I'm done it makes ...more
It took me awhile to get into this book - early on, I liked some of the characters and disliked others (and the chapters narrated by them). I think the book would have been more enjoyable without the constant need (in some chapters) to reiterate particularly negative topics (e.g. the threat of rape of the galley slaves) over and over and over again or in detail (e.g. torture). The tone was set - I got it - but as with any topic in a book, repeating the same thing constantly gets annoying. The hi ...more
The third in a series of novels by Finney, this is a gripping novel and impressive achievement (the preceding two novels were Firedrake's Eye and Unicorn's Blood). Her research is first rate and even when, by her own admission, she has had to make guesses, those guesses are informed by a deep understanding of her period.

Two of the characters (David Becket and Simon Ames) have been the linking protagonists in each of the three books and here they are two of a number of varying points of view, all

‘Gloriana’s Torch’ by Patricia Finney. Phoenix pbk ISBN 0 75381 804 3
A sequel to ‘Firedrake’s Eye’ and ‘Unicorn’s Blood’ all set in Elizabethan England, This book is about a plot to warn England of the Armada. It features the soldier and reluctant hero David Beckett, his friend Simon Ames (a Jew) and, Mercula (a black slave who has visions). Mercula gives us a fascinating glimpse of the European world and religion through African eyes.
There is an extremely exciting and harrowing account of what
I'm not sure I've ever classified a book as both historical fiction and fantasy before. The approaching invasion of the Spanish Armada is seen from the point of view of numerous players, including an English former warrior whose heart is true but whose reputation and strength are in ruins, a Jewish couple who set out undercover to find the Armada's secret plan, a priest turned assassin, the Queen herself, double and triple agents in several countries, an inquisitor with more secrets than even he ...more
Part of a series featuring the decidedly anti-James Bond exploits of alcoholic ex-swordmaster turned spy for Queen Elizabeth I, David Becket, this novel is set during the time of the battle with the Spanish Armada. Finney is unjustifiably underappreciated (she also writes the YA series Lady Grace Cavendish mysteries, also set during the Elizabethan era) and she has a fantastic gift for character description and language fluency that is much in evidence here. A worthy successor to "Firedrake's E ...more

Dedication: In memory of my best friend, lover and husband, Chris Perry

Opening: Become a god with me, now. This is all about gods.

Bookmark is Dawn at Ludlow Castle by David Gray ©

Oooops - didn't realise this is the 3rd book in a series, hope it won't make it too much of a chore.

#18 TBR Busting 2013

Page 10: muliercula definition: a little woman:

Normally there would also be a midget attending her, Thomasina de Paris, a muliercula..
I liked and I have a lot to say about it but mostly the ending whyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Mercedes Rochelle
Couldn't finish it. Put it aside.
Extraordinarily good! I'm sorry to seemingly come to the end of this wonderful series.

I highly recommended this author to any reader who likes swashbuckling espionage historical fiction with great characterization.
Historical fiction set during the Spanish Armada. Filled with intrigue, historical references, varied characters show different sides of the time period.
Another one that I couldn't get into, so I might as well just return it to the library.
Loved all the historical detail and the intricacy of the adventure. A great read.
Patricia Finney is just awesome. Period.
Kerry O'Connor
Historical fiction at its very best.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Firedrake's Eye
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AKA P.F. Chisholm and Grace Cavendish (with Jan Burchett),

Patricia Finney's first novel "A Shadow of Gulls" had already been published when she went up to Oxford aged 18 to study History. While she was still in her first year her book won the David Higham Award for Best First Novel of the year and some fantastic reviews. By then she was also an established broadcast dramatist, gaining particular
More about Patricia Finney...

Other Books in the Series

David Becket and Simon Ames (3 books)
  • Firedrake's Eye (David Becket and Simon Ames, #1)
  • Unicorn's Blood (David Becket and Simon Ames, #2)
Assassin (Lady Grace Mysteries, #1) Betrayal (Lady Grace Mysteries, #2) Conspiracy (Lady Grace Mysteries, #3) Firedrake's Eye (David Becket and Simon Ames, #1) Unicorn's Blood (David Becket and Simon Ames, #2)

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