Treachery by S J Parris was July’s read and also a World Book Night book! Firstly congratulations to everyone that managed to finish this, as it was a monster of a book! First impressions where that there were a lot of unnecessary words and it was quite long-winded. The fact that it was the fourth book in the series did make readers feel that they had dropped into the middle of something, although that didn’t detract from them finishing the book.
It was felt that the author did a good job in describing Tudor England and it was very much akin to the Musketeer’s in the swash buckling characters, but one sharp eyed reader noticed the author’s use of ‘boycott’ which didn’t come in until the late 1800’s! The description of the ‘pox’ and the whore’s house were also incredibly realistic and made most readers shudder at the thought of them!
The main character of Bruno was felt to be not a convincing male character;having too many feminine qualities and perhaps the writer struggled to develop male qualities. However one reader gained a good visualisation of the character of Sir Phillip and it was considered that the author had done an incredible amount of research (one reader even went away to read Phillip Sidney’s poetry).
Most of the characters were felt to be too detached and it felt like you were looking down on the scenes unfolding other than feeling part of their lives. The sarcasm and humour was felt to be used well throughout the novel and Sir Phillip was definitely the most memorable of characters, although we did feel the use of Sir Francis Drake was not required.
So what makes a good historical fiction? Something definitely that transports you back to those times. Philippa Gregory, Cadfile and Josephine Tey were authors/books mentioned as ones to read.
Towards the end of the book, when the murderer began to be revealed, it was felt that there were too many red herrings, although we felt that the plots around the characters were well liked. It was also mentioned that each character had their own agenda and losing their reputation in those times had so many implications that some characters did have an element of justification for their behaviour. One thing we were not sure about though was the justification of the murderer.
All in all, we thought this was a well written crime novel rather than a good historical novel.