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Revenger (John Shakespeare [Publication Order] #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,496 Ratings  ·  93 Reviews
1592. England and Spain are at war, yet there is peril at home, too. The death of her trusted spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham has left Queen Elizabeth vulnerable. Conspiracies multiply. The quiet life of John Shakespeare is shattered by a summons from Robert Cecil, the cold but deadly young statesman who dominated the last years of the Queen's long reign, insisting Shakes ...more
Hardcover, 429 pages
Published May 26th 2011 by Not Avail (first published January 1st 2010)
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Jill Meyer
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
British writer Rory Clements' new novel, "Revenger", the second in his Elizabethan setting, is even better than is first, "Martyr". Clements' central character - John Shakespeare (older brother to you-know-who) - is an "intelligencer" for Sir Francis Walsingham, principal secretary to Elizabeth I. Meaning he investigates and "looks into" problems at court and in the country as a whole. In the first book, Shakespeare helps foil a plot against Sir Francis Drake and becomes involved in the Protesta ...more
Suspense Magazine
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a tale of altered history, using John Shakespeare, the brother of William, as the sleuth. William even makes a brief appearance and plays a role. The first in this series was “Martyr” and introduced Shakespeare as an “intelligencer” for Her Majesty, the Queen of England, Elizabeth I.
As the second book opens, John has retired from a palace and political intrigue to serve as headmaster of the Margaret Woode School for Poor Boys. His first main problem is an instructor who is too harsh wit
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
The year is 1592; four years since the Spanish Armada and five years since the last time we met John Shakespeare. I had read and enjoyed the first book so decided that I would try his second adventure.
How can the death of 2 young lovers be linked to a plot by the Earl of Essex to take over the English throne when the ageing Queen Elizabeth I finally dies, the mystery of a colony in the new world and the hunt for an elusive woman all be linked?
Also thrown into the story is a falling out between S
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book - the second in the John Shakespeare series - much surpasses the first one!

Given the time in which the series is set, it being a murder-mystery, and the relationships and views of the characters it was impossible not to draw comparisons to C.J. Sansom's Shardlake series - and the first book undoubtedly fell short. However, this second instalment is far more sophisticated in its style, characterisation, plot.. everything.

I felt the series coming into its own (I'm not always comparing i
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
The main character is a fictitious older brother to William Shakespeare - a conceit popular in writing lately that I don't agree with. However. Not quite as good as the first but still very interesting. The elder Shakespeare is a spy and a loyal supporter of Queen Elizabeth I. His wife is Catholic and headstrong in her faith. Two close advisors to the Queen are scheming and both have pulled Shakespeare into their conflicting plans.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it liked it

Second in the series and apart from the despicable baddie folding like a cheap deck chair right at the end, it is a good read. Plenty of atmosphere for the Elizabethan period and a cast of characters who appeal enough to make you want to root for the good guys and seethe about the bad ones. I'd happily read the 3rd if there is one.
Lee Dunning
Apr 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the first but loved this one. Felt more rounded and developed and can't wait to read the next one
Robert Lamphear
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is very good Elizabethan historical fiction where Shakespeare's mythical brother John (his father's name) is an intelligencer. Good summary of the facts the tale is based on at the end, ala Brown, Berry, etc.
Peter Underwood
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good period stuff

It's not Sansom, lacks both the drive and the subtleties, but it is a good tale, mostly historically accurate, and we'll told.
If you have run out of Sansom and Mantell this is a good stopgap.
Pauline Chamberlain
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A good historical thriller set in times of Elizabeth 1 reign
Kathleen Eaton
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good story. Daft making the hero William Shakespeare's brother but otherwise the tale was really good.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Rory Clements (MARTYR) returns to the waning years of Elizabeth I's tumultuous reign in this excellent second installment of his series featuring the intelligencer John Shakespeare, older brother of the famous playwright. With the death of his former master Walsingham, Shakespeare is managing his school for boys and trying, though not very well, to contend with the religious fissures in his marriage caused by his devout Catholic wife, Catherine, who has been targeted by the fanatic persecutor, T ...more
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, series, historical
It seems that historical fiction set in Tudor times is the flavour of the month in the publishing world at present, though CJ Sansom's sales figures probably account for much of that - this series of books is set slightly later, in the waning days of Elizabeth's reign. Our protagonist is John Shakespeare, elder brother of the well-known playwright, and one-time intelligencer for Elizabeth's spymaster Walsingham.

In 'Revenger' Shakespeare hopes his spying days are over, as he's settled down with h
Aug 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Shakespeare, the James Bond of Elizabethan times ? Well sort of, there's spying, double agents, intrigue, torture , sex and a bit of romance. Elizabeth is nearly 60 and not expected to live much longer. Who will succeed her, what happened to the ill fated ambition of Walter Raleigh and who exactly is the mysterious Mr McGunn? This is the Elizabethan age with the gloves off and we are shown that it may have been the golden age for some but not for the poor who were an embarrassment, Catholic ...more
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Better than the first, and I liked the first! Revenger starts with an irresistible premise. Two years after the Lost Colony of Roanoke vanishes, Eleanor Dare (mother of Virginia, of first English child born in North America fame) is spotted in London. John Shakespeare, retired from intelligence work after the death of Francis Walsingham, is hauled back into it by the Earl of Essex and Robert Cecil, charged with finding Eleanor by Essex and serving as a double agent for Cecil. This is a much more ...more
Joe Slavinsky
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second, in the "John Shakespeare" series, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical fiction reads. John is Will's older brother, and initially was an "intelligencer", for "Mr. Secretary" Francis Walsingham, who has been credited with laying the groundwork for what would become Britain's intelligence "MI" groups. In the first book, "Martyr", John was responsible for stopping an assassin, sent by King Phillip of Spain, to kill Sir Francis Drake, prior to his engagement wi ...more
Mike Shoop
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I hadn't read the first in this series, it didn't matter, this mystery-thriller was good on its own. The author ably brings the period to life and creates characters that you care about and root for, makes your skin shiver with some vicious villains and gruesome crimes. John Shakespeare (older brother of Will) is pulled back into his former life as an "intelligencer" by the Queen's Privy Councillor Sir William Cecil to investigate two linked cases: Sir Walter Ralegh's "Lost Colony" a ...more
Carole Tyrrell
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A real page turner of a book - I read it at one sitting. The Elizabethan period was always my favourite period of history and I could recognise some of the major players at Elizabeth's court. The Earl of Essex, Robert Cecil and poor doomed Arbella Stuart.
It begins witha murder and John Shakespeare is ostensibly is to solev eit which he does later in the book. But he's an ex-intelligencer and is approached by Sir Robert Cecil to gain access to Essex's court and prevent his marriage to Arbella Stu
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
John Shakespeare (yes, I know, I found it a bit difficult as well but William does play a small role in both the books I've read) gets set a task. It's not one he relishes but it's made totally clear that he hasn't a lot of choice. There have been claims that a survivor from the disappeared Roanoke expedition has been seen in London - totally bonkers possibility since Roanoke is in the Americas and the place is a savage land. The Earl of Essex (not a nice man) has "requested" Shakespeare's skill ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of Clements' John Shakespeare mysteries, the Bard's older brother. The Elizabethan atmosphere is thick, along with the sounds and smells to London and the South Bank with it's docks, bear baiting arenas and brothels. The Queen is about 60 and, as always, the succession is on everyone's mind but cannot be spoken about. Essex is plotting the next rulers of England (one being himself), Raleigh is in the Tower and out of the Queen's favor, Fr. Southwell is celebrating secret Masse ...more
Nick Phillips
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-yet-owned
An enjoyable story of the historical adventure school of writing. Like most of these stories which work well the protagonist is an ordinary person caught up in great events and into associations with some extremely well known real life historical characters. Here the twist is that the hero is John Shakespeare, William's older brother and this allows for some amusing scenes between the two of them. The other twist is that unlike other stories of this ilk Shakespeare is a spy rather than a detecti ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Rory Clement's second book in the John Shakespeare builds is an excellent read and an noticeable improvement on the first book Martyr. Set five years later, it sees Shakespeare employed by Robert Devereux the Earl of Essex to find a mysterious woman in London, only to soon become embroiled in a murder investigation and ultimately a mission to defend the Crown itself.

Although the story is far fetched in places it makes for a fun read with the pace rarely slowing from start to finish. There's a ho
Robin Albert
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it
OK, historical fiction, John Shakespeare, Tudor intrique, Roanoke Colony

In his critically acclaimed debut thriller, Martyr, Rory Clements introduced readers to the unforgettable John Shakespeare, chief intelligencer to Queen Elizabeth I and older brother to Will.

Now, five years later, the Queen needs Shakespeare’s services once more. Not only is England still at war with Spain, but her court is riven by savage infighting among ambitious young courtiers.

Shakespeare is summoned by Elizabeth’s cold
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Audiobook-read by Peter Wickham. He reads the whole series-very well
John Shakespeare is an engaging character at a fascinating time in history. Elizabeth is old and failing. Her court is, as usual, dominated by attractive young men, with no conscience while her officers try to protect her and the Realm. There is no good or bad side, as those who protect the state can be just as vicious as those who threaten it, and personal vengeance is as important to characters such as Topcliffe as it is to an
Hanley5545 Hanley
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Liked it a bunch and as the second in the series,too. The context of the plot with all the actual characters and personalities/incidents of that critical time and place in English( and European) history are really my cup of tea!!
John Shakespeare, Will's elder brother, is our good-spy "intelligencer" and the key plot lines are close to real around the pretensions of Deveraux, aka "Essex". Stay tuned for more adventures and old Eliza is still alive and kicking when we last hear from her,as it were
Jo Barton
Nov 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The story opens in 1592, and England is preparing for war with Spain. Elizabeth I is an ageing queen, and with the succession uncertain there are plots against her.Intelligencer, John Shakespeare is living a quiet life, but when he is summoned by Robert Cecil, he realises his peaceful existence is threatened.Encouraged to find proof of a plot against Elizabeth, Shakespeare is drawn into a world of espionage and skulduggery.
This is another well written historical thriller - great attention to det
Sue Myers
I was drawn to this historical fiction mystery because it dealt with the Lost Colony of Roanoke which has always fascinated me. A very fast read-Main character is John Shakespeare, older brother of Wm. Shakespeare. He works in intelligence for Earl of Essex and at the same time Lord Cecil, both favorites of Queen Elizabeth I. While the plot is interesting, there is too much graphic killing for my taste. Mother of Virginia Dare escaped the Lost Colony and came back to England; all the factions ar ...more
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-mystery
Enjoyed this for the most part. I could have done without all the violence. However, violence was a way of life for some during the Middle Ages. I like books set at this time in England. I was considering the Catholic/Protestant issue: Members of both religions worship the same God, but have no tolerance of each other.

John Shakespeare is a spy. He works inside England, finding information. This is an age of intrigue and plottings.
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this historical thriller - it raced along a frantic pace, is packed with wonderful characters and Elizabethan Tudor period detail. Couldn't put it down except when real life unfortunately imposed! A definite rival for CJ Sansom's Matthew Shardlake series! Am looking forward to the next in the John Shakespeare series Prince.
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is only the second in a planned series starring the brother of William Shakespeare as an "intelligencer", or spy. Clements brings his world to light and creates dynamic historical characters, and provides good information in the back about the historical figures involved. The war with Spain, the violent tensions between Catholics and Protestants, and even the doomed colony of Roanoke, VA are pulled imaginitively in this murder mystery/adventure.
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Rory Clements has had a long and successful newspaper career, including being features editor and associate editor of Today, editor of the Daily Mail's Good Health Pages, and editor of the health section at the Evening Standard. He now writes full-time in an idyllic corner of Norfolk, England.
More about Rory Clements...

Other Books in the Series

John Shakespeare [Publication Order] (7 books)
  • Martyr (John Shakespeare, #1)
  • Prince (John Shakespeare, #3)
  • Traitor (John Shakespeare, #4)
  • The Heretics (John Shakespeare, #5)
  • The Queen's Man (John Shakespeare, #6)
  • Holy Spy (John Shakespeare, #7)