Prince is the third book in the John Shakespeare series by Rory Clements and, once again, he has crafted a marvellous tale that takes the reader by the scruff of the neck (or scruff of the ruff) and plonks her or him right down in the middle of Elizabethan England.
It is 1593. Elizabeth is sixty years old and losing grip on her glorious empire. Plague is rife in the streets of London as is discontent, poverty and brooding violence. There are plots to rid England of the heretical queen hatching everywhere. Among these are violent plans to disrupt the peace by instilling fear; fear based on xenophobia and a belief that recent Dutch immigrants are stealing the livelihoods of good Englishmen and more.
Before John Shakespeare can start his new investigation, one that will see him embroiled in his brother’s world of theatre, with Spanish dignitaries and high-class whores, Richard Topcliffe and his foul practices, personal tragedy strikes.
John’s world is literally blown apart and throughout the book he struggles to come to terms with his new life and what his loss means for him and the future.
But just when he thought he could lose no more, a greater threat strikes and unless John can pull himself together and uncover what’s happening beneath everyone’s noses, then more than a few lives are at stake, but the welfare of the entire realm.
Once again, Clements writes to such a high standard, crafting a wonderful intricate plot, mingling fictional characters with real and bringing to life a period that continues to appal, fascinate and charm.
Fabulous read and, as usual, I went straight to the next one in the series!