The last book in the Clarenceux trilogy, The Final Sacrament by James Forrester, is quite a dark and grim tale as the beleaguered William Harley, Clarenceux King of Arms, has to make decisions regarding the document that was entrusted to him in a previous instalment of the series and which, if placed in the wrong hands, could bring down the throne and kingdom.
The Catholics want it for their purposes, as do Francis Walsingham and William Cecil – the Queen’s Privy Councillors, men who, supposedly, are on Clarenceux’s side. But as friends betray him and those set to guard him seem more intent on guarding something else, and his family is threatened, desperation grows. William Harley no longer knows whom he can trust.
Death and danger stalk his every move and when it enters his home, he has no choice but to take drastic measures.
This has been a good series. Written by Ian Mortimer, whose non-fiction books (The Time Traveller’s Guides to Medieval England and Elizabethan England and The Fears of Henry IV among others) I think are brilliant, his strength lies more in the realm of fact than fiction.
While this is an engaging tale in many regards, it does become convoluted in spots and sometimes a character’s motivation is questionable.
Overall, however, Forrester, as one would expect, evokes the period so well and doesn’t baulk from revealing the dark underbelly and cruelty of this period.
For anyone who likes a rollicking but bleak read.