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The Imp of Eye

(Renaissance Sojourner #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  31 reviews
London 1440
A youth and a Duchess caught in a web of royal intrigue and witchcraft.
While the storm clouds of the Wars of the Roses gather in fifteenth century London, Barnabas, a streetwise thirteen year-old orphan, dreams of sailing away to foreign countries. His mistress, Margery Jourdemayne, the Witch of Eye, and his guardian, CanonThomas Southwell, plot to use his clai
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published June 15th 2015 by An Tig Beag Press
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  213 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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The cover of Imp of Eye and the rest of the Renaissance Sojourner series has long caught my eye, so I decided that it was time to dive in. I was not disappointed. The story of the fall of Eleanor Cobham and the politics leading up to the Wars of the Roses was as richly done as promised.

Eleanor's story is not often told or widely known, though it is the focus of one of Tony Riches' novels. Therefore, it would have been easy for Gleeson to simply tell her story. The story chosen to write instead
Lora Shouse
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
London in the 1440’s during the reign of King Henry VI is an inauspicious time to have the ability to look into a bowl of water or a crystal ball and be able to see the future. Perhaps that’s why the main character in this historical novel by Kristin Gleason and Moonyeen Blakey is always so reluctant when he is asked to do so.

Barnabas, a thirteen-year old boy, a foundling who has been discovered to have a gift for contacting spirits has come into the employ of Mistress Margery Jourdemayne, also
I honestly wasn’t expecting to enjoy The Imp of Eye as much as I did.

In fact, I expected I’d hate it. I tend to bounce hard off the concept of historical fantasy, so the fact that this was focused on Barnabas, a thirteen-year-old clairvoyant, didn’t thrill me. And I’ve been let down, time again and time again, by novels that feature Eleanor Cobham – they either end up stinking of regurgitated misogynistic garbage, run the ‘accused witch’ angle into the absurd or are just bland. It didn’t help th
Claire Stibbe
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Imp of Eye is a unique book that evokes the time of King Henry VI, the Duke of Gloucester and masters Hume and Bolingbroke. The founding of Eton College and Cambridge aside, there’s a magic to this book that delves into the scandals and secrets of the scrying bowl. With pipes and long-necked flasks spewing white smoke, there’s a good dose of treason and tension on the menu.

Barnabas is an imp, all skinned knees and shaggy hair. The spirits like him, only he’s not quite so partial to them. Wh
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a rather historically accurate portrayal of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester and her role in the downfall of Duke Humphrey, King Henry VI's uncle. The power grab of the Beauforts pushed the Yorks, Nevilles, and young Warwick to align against the weak Henry VI. 1440 was the beginnings of the War of the Roses. I would have rated the book higher, if I had not read Margaret Frazier's Dame Frevisse mystery series. I kept expecting her to show up with her no nonsense attitude and fix ...more
Frances Weidner
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Historical Fiction

This novel gave me what I enjoy and appreciate in a historical novel: it transported me from my favorite reading place to fifteenth century London. The characters are strongly depicted, with the protagonist speaking in the vernacular of his birth and origin. Gleeson's stellar ability of description, awakens the reader's senses to tastes, smells, visuals, sounds and textures of the era.

The fiction is well crafted around historical persons and political behaviors of the
Wendy L Arias
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Renaissance Sojouner

Enjoyed story from cover to cover! Forgot most of the history of that time. But, I was able to pick u some of it, while reading this book. Of all the history centered around the English royal throne this period and the other Henrys have fascinated me. Once again my sister the author has done well!
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story has some historical references during the time of the War of the Roses. The Imp is a young man named Barnabas, an orphan who works for a woman who dabbles in esoteric things. Although his mistress acts as though she is gifted, Barnabas is the one with the sight. This is a time when the Church found the Devil everywhere, and women often burned at the stake, after being tortured first, of course. Duchess Eleanor wants to have a baby so that if her husband the Duke becomes next in line fo ...more
Kathryn Barnett
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Kristen Gleeson and Moonyeen Blakey

I started reading this book in my own home and as soon as I got into it, I was in London in 1440. Granted it did take a chapter or two to get pulled in but as soon as I had the “lay of the land” so to speak, it was not only great it was unputdownable (is that even a word?). Most historical novels tend to read like a textbook at times. That is when I tune out. This book was never like that, was never boring and now I find o
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an impulse read. I purchased the second book for free, bc it was one of those offers you get. The obsessive in me wanted to read The first one first. It cost 1.99 so I bought it. I don't read much historical fiction. I did LOVE T.H.Where's Arthurian books but are they historical? Anyway this takes place in the 15th century and it was a lot of fun. The story is not deep or philosophical but the characters are quite well drawn and it moves along nicely. I did like how the author shows the ...more
Melody Oakerson
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
History comes alive and stinks.

This is mostly a historically accurate tale about how the world was during the Renaissance period. All the gritty nature of great groups of people all fighting for their place in the thrones of Europe. The way that politics was fighting with and against the church (whichever was most popular at that time) harkens back to some problems we in the 21st century are fighting too. It seems the more things change (indoor plumbing) the more they do stay the same.
Looking forward to book 2

I've always been a fan of historical fiction in which people who really existed figure as prominent characters, like Eleanor Cobham in this novel. I especially enjoyed the fictional character of Barnabas and how he developed from a poorly-spoken yet deceptively clever guttersnipe into a fashionable "Venetian." I look forward to seeing what historical figures he will find himself embroiled with in the next book.
Deborah Whipp
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Historical suspense, witchcraft, political intrigue - I was hoping it would be fascinating, but I found myself bored at times. Featured interesting characters, with some based on actual persons, but none that I really loved, which made it difficult to care much about their ultimate outcomes. Again, interesting, but it just didn't capture me the way I expected it to.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Based firmly on a true happening.

An excellent novel developed from an actual scandal and trial. The details are carefully researched to set a credible background , the characters are impressively human .
J.T.K. Gibbs
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
An intriguing story through a turbulent time in history. Gleeson draws on real history and humanizes the distant past with strong characters that make the reader care what happens to them all. Well worth the read and I will likely pick up the sequels soon.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great story with fascinating characters!

This story was full of historical details and rich characters. A very enjoyable read from a talented author. Highly recommended!
Gilli Cohen
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's good in itself, but very much a first part of a series, and feels more like a prologue novel, which it rather is. Enjoyable, but count on having to read all four if you want a resolution.
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
I didn't much like it

It is historical. But I truly wish I hadn't wasted my time reading the whole book. I kept thinking it would get better. It doesn't
Pat K
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: historic-fiction
i enjoyed this book, most of the historic characters were well drawn. and the descriptions of the food and streets and inns were interesting.
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another 5 star book. to another amazing book.I will tell you the reason for the 5 star review yet again. 


The Imp of Eye is a Historical Fiction Novel. based on actual events from the English History. The story goes back to the 1400’s (specifically 1440-1441)  So the story begins with Barnabas being bossed around by his mistress, Margery Jourdemayne, the Witch of Eye. Father South
Nancy McLaughlin
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good historical read

This book puts you squarely in the middle of the 25th century. Descriptions of the food, clothing & the smells really makes feel as if you're standing on the street, watching the characters.
Debbie Lynn
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it
I am rating this book along with the others in this at three stars. This first book in the series grabbed my attention enough to continue through the remaining books in spite of the criticism I explain below.

I want to emphasize, this rating is a rating of the wholeness of the book; the story as well as the writing. These books have the potential to be 5 star books, however, where the story telling shines, the writing lacks. I continued reading the books because I do love the characters and the s
Jean Gill
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
15thC History brought to life

The true story of royal duchess Eleanor Cobham's fall from grace lends itself to a tale of suspense, political plotting and the supernatural. Kristin Gleeson makes the most of the page-turning brew but the starring role goes to her fictional character Barnabas, a boy with a sixth sense, caught up in events beyond his understanding - and scared stiff. I knew nothing of this period in history and can think of no more enjoyable way of finding out than through the Renais
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I very much liked the plot,characters and use of the time period vernacular in this book,The occult and witchery is nicely done and I look forward to the further adventures of the particular imp and what and where it goes
Apr 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Once I got into the rhythm of this tale and how it was told, I loved it! I immediately had to learn what I could about where Eye was and who had lived there( that is what I do when I read).

Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester's fate was known to me peripherally, by reading a lot of books about the precursors to the Wars of the Roses, but not in this detail.I want to learn more about her and about Barnabas and Alys of course.

Some of the book is about the rise ( and fall) of Eleanor Cobham and her husban
B.A. Morton
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is a delicious tale of superstition, witchcraft and political plotting in Medieval England.
From the very first page, reluctant young scryer Barnabas takes our hand and drags us full pelt through 15th century London’s alleys, markets and docklands. You can almost smell the river and hear the raucous cries of the traders and the whispers of the court. Barnabas’ chapters are particularly entertaining, as is his unique vernacular which paints a marvellous picture of him. Against the trickery of
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic book and I really can't recommend it enough! I was given a free copy by the author in exchange for an honest review, but I truly would have been happy to pay for it.

It follows a period in the 1400s, and twists together the story of Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester and a street urchin Barnabas in a clear and unexpected way.

The characters are very well drawn and the story definitely kept me turning the pages. I can say, hand on heart, that I will certainly get the new book
Fred &
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from the for free from a "read and review" service, so I wasn't expecting much. Instead, I was blown away! A fascinating (and in terms of the major historical events, accurate) historical fiction with vivid and engaging characters that I would have finished in one sitting if real life did not interfere with my schedule!

A touch of the paranormal was spice to the recipe. I would recommend this book very highly.

These authors deserve more of my attention. What a lens into History!
James Krauss
The book was hard to read in the beginning because the beginning was written in the first person and the Main person talking was a very poor young boy that spoke in a type of chutney. But as you got use to it and as he grew older his language improved and the book was easier to read. Very good book and looking forward to reading more from this series.
Hope Gerhardstein
Good story line. Based on true facts
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USA Today Bestselling author, Kristin Gleeson is originally from Philadelphia but has lived in West Cork in Ireland for a number of years where she plays the harp and sings, in addition to painting the beautiful landscape around her. She holds a Masters in Library Science and a Ph.D. in history, and for a time was an administrator of a large archives, library and museum in America and also worked ...more

Other books in the series

Renaissance Sojourner (3 books)
  • The Sea of Travail (The Renaissance Sojourner Series Book 2)
  • The Quest of Hope (The Renaissance Sojourner Series Book 3)

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