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The Eyes of the Queen

(Agents of the Crown #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  43 reviews
“[A] rollicking new historical thriller…taut, made-for-movie-theater tension and delicious, snickering-from-the-back-row wit.” —New York Times Book Review

In this first novel of the exhilarating Agents of the Crown series, a man who will become the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enli
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 27th 2020 by Atria/Leopoldo Co. (first published October 6th 2020)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
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Helen Howerton
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon & Schuster for this Advanced Reader Copy and the opportunity to review The Eyes of the Queen. All opinions are my own.

I began this with good intentions, enjoying the story as it unfolded. Decided to ignore the premise on the first pages “… a man who will become the original M16 agent.” That sounded a little too “new.” Okay, whatever. I’ll just go on. The book “stars” John Dee, who as history says was the court astronomer and advisor to Queen Eliz
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was ok
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A Doctor becomes a Spy for Elizabeth I, helping to create the British secret service. It was histrionic, and dull at the same time. It felt like the reader was going for a sort of combination of Gothic and Captain Blood, but didn't quite make it.
Sue F
Oct 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of historical mysteries, so I was happy to have a chance to read a review copy of The Eyes of the Queen, which is the first title in a new series featuring the real-life John Dee - mathematician, astrologer, astronomer, alchemist, philosopher and also, by-the-way, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I - as the protagonist.

Clements’ tale weaves nicely among major historical events of the day: the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in France; Queen Elizabeth’s reluctance to execute Queen Mary,
Samantha Clysdale
Nov 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I have recieved this book for a honest review from Netgalley and Simon & Schuster.

I found this book very dry. It have no historical events to keep it interesting. I found the writing style very robotic.
Sally Lindsay-briggs
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting and informative historical Goodreads gift. This expanded and greatly illuminated my knowledge of Queen Elizabeth’s circle of friends and advisors. It was very violent but it was set in the 1500’s when times were rough and murderous. The language and some of Queen Mary’s antics were a bit R rated. I really liked the characters, especially the humanity of Queen Elizabeth and the talent and personality/bravery of Dee.
Stephanie Rivera
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So this is historical/mystery set during the reign of Elizabeth I which is one of my favorite historical time periods to read about. So this has everything mystery, political intrigue, treachery and with a cast of characters pulled straight out of history. Walsingham is great as the chief spymaster for Elizabeth I who loses a key piece of encrypted intel about how to find the northwest passage so they recruit John Dee to go and recover it. This takes place over the course of 2 months in 1572 whi ...more
Laura plantladyreader
This was such a great read!

Historical fiction meets thriller meets the makings of the future James Bond, all had me devouring this book in a matter of days!

Dr James Dee has a surprising relationship with Queen Elizabeth, one not many people understand, including Francis Walsingham, her head of security detail. Dee is a curious man, having many skills in the sciences, astronomy, astrology and spiritualism, and it makes him invaluable to the Queen's aid. While Walsingham is defending Queen Elizabe
Oct 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
This is a complex story of spying on behalf of Queen Elizabeth and on behalf of her rival, Mary (popularly known as Mary, Queen of Scots) in 1572. It is a time of intense religious feeling, and the book opens with scenes of violence as Catholics slaughter Protestants (Huguenots) in France. In England there is fear that the Spanish are making plans to crush England via the sea in order to put the Catholic Mary on the English throne.

The adventures culminate with the establishment of Her
Erin Hatt
Jul 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
This book is pretty well written. But I seemed to struggle getting through it. I feel like a little bit more clarity in the writing could help with the continuity and flow of the story. I would definitely read other books by the author in the future!

I received this book in a giveaway, but this in no way influences my review.
Alexis (hookedtobooks)
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the copy of this book.
Inspired by a historical figure that will become on of the first MI6 agents, this book was full of action and intrigue. It takes place during the Elizabethan period in England, which is one of my favourite time periods in history. There is a lot going on in the book, including the Huguenot massacre in France, the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots, and the search for the Northwest Passage. I loved all the action and ad
Joan Mitchell
Jul 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-have-won
An exciting story of political intrigue between Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I. Dangerous situations, espionage and traitors made the story come to life.
Sep 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Unreadable drivel and I set it aside when The first F bomb appeared in Chapter One. Seriously MUCH better books written in this time period without resorting to F bombs.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read this book. I love historical novels but this one fell a bit short. The basis of the story was great but there were too many side stories that weren’t needed and parts that should have been expanded on were left cut short without answers. I was not expecting the Queen Mary sexual exploits and I thought that could have been handled differently as it didn’t add to the story or help explain anything. I was indifferent t ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This... this is a challenging one to review, I think in part because it was very clearly written by a man, and when 2 of the key characters are incredibly strong women (Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots), yet are written so 'softly' it detracts from the overall story.

I liked the premise, that this was when Her Majesty's Secret Service was first conceived, that a network of spies was looking to both kill and protect the Queens. It was a good story, with intrigue and action.

John Dee was
Gail Williamson
Sep 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I found this book difficult to read in spite of my interest in this historical period. The pacing was well done in some scenes, leaving the reader anticipating the next move but horrible slow in other sections.
It was loaded with info about the Queen(s), the religious turmoil, and the politics of the era but still fell to capture my interest and enjoyment.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
1572 - What a dangerous time to be alive! Clements’s first novel in the Spymasters Series, set in Tudor England, is a historical novel about beginnings of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the original MI6 agent, John Dee. The novel opens with an overly descriptive telling of the St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre, an extremely bloody and violent attack started by the Catholics against the Protestants in France. If readers can make it through this, they are introduced to Queen Elizabeth I’s chief spy ...more
Nov 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Eyes of the Queen intrigued me, as a fan of the Tudors, and I was particularly interested in how Sir Francis Walsingham’s spy ring, which I knew a little bit about, served as a predecessor to the modern MI6 in the UK today.

On the positive side, it’s absolutely gritty and atmospheric, capturing the dark and treacherous nature of the later Elizabethan age, with Elizabeth fearing attac
Disclaimer: I received an advance reader's copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Am I the only one who didn't know that John Dee, yup that John Dee, was the original 007?! There you have it ladies and gents, reading teaches you new things!

Anyhoots, onto my real review. I greatly enjoyed this, it was really well-paced, a quick read, and I didn't feel bogged down by a huge cast of historical figures I had to keep track of. If you like your historical novels with a little bit
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received this as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This novel was really well done in it's descriptions of Elizabethan England and Europe. I found it very interesting in the way that the beginnings of the M16 were explored, and the mysterious John Dee. I didn't know about him before this book but upon doing some research on the side, the book isn't exactly 100% true to history, but it does make for a rollicking good story. There is a lot of mystery, alternate POVs and timelines, and red
Ceylan (CeyGo)
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The Eyes of the Queen" by Oliver Clements gives the reader a historical peek of 1572 that included religious wars between Spain, England, and France, and the Saint Bartholomew Massacre. The twisted plots between queens: Elizabeth of England and Mary Queen of Scots reveals how dangerous this time period turned out to be.
Dr. John Dee is a loyalist to Queen Elizabeth and the hope of his queen for the safety of England and her. His mission is to retrieve papers that will solve a difficult situatio
Diana Brown
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you Netgalley and Simon and Schuster Canada for the advanced copy of The eyes of the Queen by Oliver Clements. This is a first book in the Agents of the Crown series and I was intrigued by the description " the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enlightenment.". One of my favourite movies in Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett, and I was interested to see whether this book would make just as much as impression ...more
Oct 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Eyes of the Queen is the first novel in a charming new series by this fantastic author. It's fast-paced, humorous and full of interesting facts alongside a historical spy thriller.

In Elizabethan England, an age where spies are more useful than armies, John Dee is thrust into a dangerous spy network to unearth a threat against the Queen. But in Protestant England the Catholics are always a threat so he must weed out the people he can truly trust in order to prevent a royal disaster.

The Eyes

This one was kind of interesting but didn't really wow me.  I used to be hugely into historical fiction and I've fallen off it in the last few years, so The Eyes of the Queen: A Novel by Oliver Clements was a good way to immerse myself back into the genre.  I was intrigued by the premise that the main character is essentially the first MI6 agent.  It was an interesting thought, but the execution was lacking.  The being in love with Queen Elizabeth I part is very predictable and vastly
1572 Spy master Walsingham is in Paris, while the massacre of St. Bartholomew is occurring. But he must retrieve an important document. Later, events result in sending Dr John Dee into France. Meanwhile Walsingham believes he must deal with the threat from Mary, Queen of the Scots.
An entertaining well-written historical thriller with some interesting characters.
A good start to a new series even though the story was written in the present tense, not something I particularly like.
An ARC was provid
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Historical spy thrillers are always entertaining, this one is no different. As all good spy tales, war and politics are the center of it, but with the time frame, religion must also be added. . But it's so much more interesting when you through in royalty, since they can be so unpredictable. The most intriguing part though from me was reading about the start of one of the most famous spy agency being formed. An very interesting read, that had thrills, suspense, and some humour, just a great read ...more
Kathy Duffy
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Set in the Elizabethan court and Walsinghams network of spies with all the fears and concerns about Queen Mary and attempts on Queen Elizabeth's life. Clements breaths life in Elizabeth, John Dee, and a fair number of support characters but Walsingham comes off really two dimensional. One cheers for John Dee, for Isabel Cochet, for many of characters caught in the web, but it is hard to cheer for Walsingham.
Alexandria Gunn
Sep 10, 2020 rated it liked it
I received an advance copy of the book thanks to Netgally for an honest review.

There were some good moments in the book. This is one where there's been a lot of research to develop many of the characters. Sadly, it fell short when it came to pacing, especially in the first 80% of the novel. The female characters also weren't as well developed as they could have been.

My full review is available here:
A nice escape to Elizabethan times, featuring real historical personalities as our "espials" and handlers. If it's not Hilary Mantel (what is?), neither is it as turgid and unreadable as Tomblands, the most recent of Sansom's similarly set Shardlake series. I enjoyed the several viewpoints, the interpretations of the characters, and the missions themselves. The final two pages are entirely too twee, setting up the secret service, but I can forgive that, I think...
Diana  Puckett
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Stunning historical fiction with elements of mystery and suspense. Set in 16th century England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth; this novel is brimming with twists and intrigue. Fans of Ken Follett will enjoy this historical retelling. Well written and captures the complex dynamics of this game of thrones. Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to review this ARC.
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