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Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot

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From the author of the successful Thomas the Falconer mysteries comes a new historical series featuring Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck . . . 1600: a new century dawns. War with Spain has dragged on for fifteen years, the conflict in Ireland for six. Unease stalks England in the dying years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck is bo From the author of the successful Thomas the Falconer mysteries comes a new historical series featuring Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck . . . 1600: a new century dawns. War with Spain has dragged on for fifteen years, the conflict in Ireland for six. Unease stalks England in the dying years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck is bored. Then a message from his spymaster, Sir Robert Cecil arrives: the existence of a spy has been discovered, code-named Morera, and Marbeck must uncover the true identity of this traitor quickly, before rumours of the young King Philip III forming a new Armada prove themselves to be true.


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From the author of the successful Thomas the Falconer mysteries comes a new historical series featuring Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck . . . 1600: a new century dawns. War with Spain has dragged on for fifteen years, the conflict in Ireland for six. Unease stalks England in the dying years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck is bo From the author of the successful Thomas the Falconer mysteries comes a new historical series featuring Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck . . . 1600: a new century dawns. War with Spain has dragged on for fifteen years, the conflict in Ireland for six. Unease stalks England in the dying years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck is bored. Then a message from his spymaster, Sir Robert Cecil arrives: the existence of a spy has been discovered, code-named Morera, and Marbeck must uncover the true identity of this traitor quickly, before rumours of the young King Philip III forming a new Armada prove themselves to be true.

30 review for Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I enjoyed the fast paced action and twisting plot of this novel. Not having read the first three books in this series, I had no trouble jumping into the story and getting to know the characters. Marbeck is a protagonist that the reader roots for, even if not all of his actions are completely honorable. Marbeck receives his instructions from an underling of Secretary Cecil, who rose to power under Queen Elizabeth I and continues under the new Stuart king. As an intelligencer, which sounds so much I enjoyed the fast paced action and twisting plot of this novel. Not having read the first three books in this series, I had no trouble jumping into the story and getting to know the characters. Marbeck is a protagonist that the reader roots for, even if not all of his actions are completely honorable. Marbeck receives his instructions from an underling of Secretary Cecil, who rose to power under Queen Elizabeth I and continues under the new Stuart king. As an intelligencer, which sounds so much more sophisticated than spy, Marbeck is becoming disillusioned with his unsettled life, various aliases, and doubt that his reports are always used for the best. Before he can consider another type of life, he is caught up in a meandering investigation that begins with the ravings of a madman and the vague hints of a Jesuit priest. Marbeck is sure that gunpowder is being hoarded but struggles to determine where or why. This is an action packed adventure centered on one of the best known historical events of the early 17th century. Marbeck has a bad feeling about the Parliament meeting scheduled for the 5th of November, but more than one force is working against him. My only complaint? The ending isn't really an ending. I'll have to wait to learn Marbeck's fate in Pilkington's next tale. I thank NetGalley for the opportunity to read this novel. Opinions expressed are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy Samin

    Couldn’t put it down!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Sebesta

    A bit too convoluted but good historical tie-ins.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    This is an okay novel which I found more enjoyable to read than the last one. The characters are all good and the language and history is easier to understand. The plot moves along quite well and kept my interest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Viviane Crystal

    Martin Marbeck is tired, mentally and physically weary, of weaving his way through the snares of the devious plots in the Court of King James in 1605 in England. He travels under several pseudonyms and is not recognized by his real name until later in this fourth novel of his spying activities. The country is awash in Papists a/k/a Catholics and those who seek them out for extinction. But Martin through an excellent source believes there is a more sinister plot being planned that could mean the Martin Marbeck is tired, mentally and physically weary, of weaving his way through the snares of the devious plots in the Court of King James in 1605 in England. He travels under several pseudonyms and is not recognized by his real name until later in this fourth novel of his spying activities. The country is awash in Papists a/k/a Catholics and those who seek them out for extinction. But Martin through an excellent source believes there is a more sinister plot being planned that could mean the death of the King and most of his high-placed and favored ministers. Distractions abound and cleverly keep Marbeck (or John Sanders as he is currently known) from pursuing his instinctive inclinations. The first is to follow the activities of Thomas Percy, a Papist, who seems to escape from Marbeck’s search at every turn. A young and beautiful Charlotte de Baume succeeds in seducing Marbeck but very soon becomes a lethal opponent. Marbeck is enthralled and yet wary of her, with excellent reasons. Using his few free days to follow his increasingly certain suspicions, Marbeck for the remainder of this novel will court danger, as well as past and recent acquaintances, to prove what he would mean absolute disaster for England and its loyal residents. Pilkington presents an accurate and harrowing tale that shows the varying states of English people, from the glorious dress and elaborate housing of the King and his Parliament members to the lice-ridden, malodorous homes and taverns of the common folk. He also knows precisely where to arouse and ease tension with an increasingly complex set of characters. For the Papists are a serious and impassioned group, as seen in the demeanor of a captured Jesuit priest, who are not afraid to risk a certain execution in order to fulfill their mission of bringing souls to Christ within their own faith. However, Pilkington also includes other nefarious characters who believe there is a better way to change the Protestant domination of the King, a plot that is quite unholy! Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot… is a superb historical mystery that this reviewer thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommends, as well as the previous installments in this Marbeck series. This would make a superb film series as well!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The sun was shrinking. It was the twelfth day of October, and the outbreak of plague that had blighted London over this uneasy summer was receding into memory.’ Martin Marbeck is an ‘intelligencer’, a government spy for Lord Cecil who has seen service under Queen Elizabeth I and continues to serve her successor, King James I. Religious differences between Catholic and Protestants continue to divide the nation. Marbeck is ordered to keep watch on Thomas Percy, a well-known Papist who is cousin to ‘The sun was shrinking. It was the twelfth day of October, and the outbreak of plague that had blighted London over this uneasy summer was receding into memory.’ Martin Marbeck is an ‘intelligencer’, a government spy for Lord Cecil who has seen service under Queen Elizabeth I and continues to serve her successor, King James I. Religious differences between Catholic and Protestants continue to divide the nation. Marbeck is ordered to keep watch on Thomas Percy, a well-known Papist who is cousin to the Earl of Northumberland. Marbeck hears rumours of a threat against the King, but has no specific information. His spymaster seems unconcerned, but Marbeck doesn’t think that the threat can be so readily dismissed. In the meantime, Marbeck himself is more than a little distracted by the elegant Charlotte de Baume. But Marbeck is persistent, and comments by a captured priest combined with observations shared by a former colleague give him some clue as to the form the threat might take. Does he have time to stop it? Marbeck himself is in danger as he tries to uncover the truth. Who is behind the plot, and how do they hope to achieve their objectives? ‘Parliament prorogued … The opening to take place on the fifth of November, a Tuesday…’ I really enjoyed this novel. It’s the first of the Marbeck series (it’s the fourth book published) I’ve read and I’ll be looking to read the first three. Although I know the history of this period (and the Gunpowder Plot) fairly well, I liked the way Mr Pilkington has incorporated Marbeck into the story without material change to the events. But will Marbeck survive, or are his days as an intelligencer over? ‘Who has the most to gain from letting the drama play itself out until the last moment? My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House Publishers for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elite Group

    Authentic Evocation of the Bid to Blow up Parliament, 5 Sept. 2015 This review is from: Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot: A 17th century historical mystery (A Martin Marbeck Mystery) (Kindle Edition) This historical novel is the latest in a series of Marbeck mysteries but can be read as a stand-alone story. Martin Marbeck is a government spy. It’s 1605 and King James is on the throne. The papists who originally were delighted with their new king have reached the inevitable conclusion that he is not a Authentic Evocation of the Bid to Blow up Parliament, 5 Sept. 2015 This review is from: Marbeck and the Gunpowder Plot: A 17th century historical mystery (A Martin Marbeck Mystery) (Kindle Edition) This historical novel is the latest in a series of Marbeck mysteries but can be read as a stand-alone story. Martin Marbeck is a government spy. It’s 1605 and King James is on the throne. The papists who originally were delighted with their new king have reached the inevitable conclusion that he is not a sympathiser of Rome and there is underlying unrest in the country. The scene is therefore set for a fast-moving mystery. Everyone in Britain knows of November 5th and the gunpowder plot so it could be thought that the author would be constrained by the factual events of the day. Fortunately this is not the case as the story revolves around the life and loves of Martin Marbeck and his undercover work as an “intellgenter.” The reader is taken back to the early 17th century as the author, through immaculate research, is not only able to describe life but in so doing is also able to conjure up the feel of the time and even the smells of the overcrowded cities. Political intrigue is rife. Poverty and its dire consequences can hit both aristocracy and the underclass alike. A term in the Clink is overpoweringly evoked – not a place to aspire to. The reader of course knows the ending – the king and Parliament are saved. However the story is none the worse for this and the tension grows as the story progresses. This is an excellent novel which will keep the reader glued to the page and to answer the obvious question – Yes. Guy Fawkes makes an appearance – guess who he is! -- mr zorg Rating: Five Stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Wilde Sky

    A spy is tasked with finding a double agent (which appears to be different from some of the plots listed here by other reviewers on this site?). I found this historical thriller (set in 1600) interesting but the use of old English vocabulary was initially distracting (a glossary could have helped).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    An action thriller that just happens to be set in Elizabethan times. This has much less description and history lessons than most historical mysteries. It rattles along at a fair clip. I will probably continue to read the series if the library continues to get copies.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Elizabethan era story of espionage and intrigue. The Marbeck character was likeable and it was a quick and entertaining read. I haven't read much late Elizabethan, so I found the historical details to be very interesting. I'd continue with the series. Elizabethan era story of espionage and intrigue. The Marbeck character was likeable and it was a quick and entertaining read. I haven't read much late Elizabethan, so I found the historical details to be very interesting. I'd continue with the series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    c2012:FWFTB: 1600, swordsmanship, Spain, Intelligencer, sinister. This was a really quick read and enjoyable at that. Good characterisation and a good pace. Recommended to the normal crew. "Never trust a Celt, Marbeck - they're as bad as the Spanish, and as wily as the French" c2012:FWFTB: 1600, swordsmanship, Spain, Intelligencer, sinister. This was a really quick read and enjoyable at that. Good characterisation and a good pace. Recommended to the normal crew. "Never trust a Celt, Marbeck - they're as bad as the Spanish, and as wily as the French"

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lorin Cary

    Marbeck is an undercover investigator for King James. It's 1605 and Catholics are being pursued. Marbeck stumbles upon a plot to blowup the King (think Guy Fawkes) and, well, it's involved. Period details enrich this story. Nicely done. Marbeck is an undercover investigator for King James. It's 1605 and Catholics are being pursued. Marbeck stumbles upon a plot to blowup the King (think Guy Fawkes) and, well, it's involved. Period details enrich this story. Nicely done.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yael

    It's not that the book is really super (plot feels abbreviated)--but I *love* the way the author showed the world his hero works and lives in. It's not that the book is really super (plot feels abbreviated)--but I *love* the way the author showed the world his hero works and lives in.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bgmcleod

    A recurring character for this author, Marbeck is a spy for Queen Elizabeth I and her spymaster William Cecil. A fair read, but I probably won't read any more in this series. A recurring character for this author, Marbeck is a spy for Queen Elizabeth I and her spymaster William Cecil. A fair read, but I probably won't read any more in this series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Very short, scant on atmosphere and detail. Not a horrifyingly bad book, but with little to recommend it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lin

    It's ok. It's period fiction of Elizabethan era. It's ok. It's period fiction of Elizabethan era.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Michell Karnes

    I love historical fiction and this is a great one with a mystery in the Elizabethean times.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Torpin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Stanwood

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Nock

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

  22. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  23. 4 out of 5

    Heraklia

  24. 4 out of 5

    MRS J E C EDWARDS

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ernesto Oporto

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dr Philip A Saigh

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tessa Winchcombe

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cissie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Jaques

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Skrivseth

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