The Rebel’s Mark by SW Perry

ARRSE Rating
4.00 star(s)
Set in Elizabethan times, this is one of a series from the ‘Jackdaw’ series but is a stand alone story in its own write (pun!). The main character is Nicholas Shelby, a physician to Her Majesty and a spy for, or at least in the pay of, Robert Cecil, Elizabeth’s foremost Minister. The background stories are the war with Spain and the rebel Irish trying to evict the English from their island.

The story moves from London to Ireland, back and forward a few times as Shelby follows his master’s instructions. First he is sent to Ireland to meet with Edmund Spenser, England’s foremost poet who has been given land in Ireland as a reward. Spenser has been in contact with some Spanish noblemen who wish to broker a peace treaty with England and have sent a messenger with the names of the Spanish noblemen who have influence over the King of Spain. Shelby’s job is to meet Spenser and get these names. Spenser refuses to just hand over the names and wishes to go to London and pass them on in person. The trouble is the names are held by the Spanish nobleman and his daughter, who is ostensibly travelling to the Low Countries to marry. Their ship is wrecked off Ireland’s coast and the nobleman killed. His daughter is captured by Irish rebels who believe that she is actually there to help them evict the English. Lots of intrigue around this, drawing in the nobleman’s daughter’s maid, who is a Carib slave but a lot more intelligent than her mistress.

Rebels Mark.jpg

In London there are two factions, one that wishes to subdue Ireland by killing as many Irish rebels as possible and another which wishes a more reasonable outcome but with England still ruling the Island. Returning to London Spenser is drawn in to this intrigue and tries to hold out the names for some advancement. Unfortunately, he gets himself killed! Shelby is then sent as a Physician to be part of the army that Elizabeth sends to subdue Ireland, but everyone knows he is a spy for Cecil this his task is made much more difficult, and he finds himself actually working as a physician to the army, and quite a successful one. Shelby has taken his beautiful and resourceful wife with him, ostensibly as the pharmacist able to make potions to assist his work. She is captured by rebels and held in the same castle as the Spanish nobleman’s daughter and her slave/companion.

The commander of the army sent by Elizabeth is the Earl of Essex who is ill with flux (dysentery) and also, Shelby suspects, suffering from syphilis but nobody is brave enough to tell the Earl this. Consequently, Essex has mood swings which affect the campaign, which is not going well. Essex makes a pact with the rebels, something he was expressly forbidden to do and returns to London to see the Queen to explain. Shelby’s wife escapes from the rebels and he, his wife and the slave/companion, who knows the names of the Spanish noblemen as she has been part of the family, very quickly return to London with this information for Cecil. Hinted throughout is a plot against Elizabeth by certain English noblemen and this return to London by the main parties brings about the denouement whereby all is revealed.

All in all a good tale of the machinations at Court in late Elizabethan times and the description of herbs used to cure or alleviate symptoms in those days is very interesting and adds to the story, although at times it drags it out a bit. The description later in the book of people bursting in to the Queen’s bedchamber before she had her make-up on his hilarious and must have been hugely shocking to those involved at the time.

This is a good factional story of Elizabethan times and within it are several sub-plots/stories which taken together weave into the tale of intrigue, plotting and treason. The Historical Note at the end gives the real outcome of the various comings and goings that were part of life at Court in those days.

4/5 Mr Mushroomheads

Amazon product
 

CharleyBourne

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Set in Elizabethan times, this is one of a series from the ‘Jackdaw’ series but is a stand alone story in its own write (pun!). The main character is Nicholas Shelby, a physician to Her Majesty and a spy for, or at least in the pay of, Robert Cecil, Elizabeth’s foremost Minister. The background stories are the war with Spain and the rebel Irish trying to evict the English from their island.

The story moves from London to Ireland, back and forward a few times as Shelby follows his master’s instructions. First he is sent to Ireland to meet with Edmund Spenser, England’s foremost poet who has been given land in Ireland as a reward. Spenser has been in contact with some Spanish noblemen who wish to broker a peace treaty with England and have sent a messenger with the names of the Spanish noblemen who have influence over the King of Spain. Shelby’s job is to meet Spenser and get these names. Spenser refuses to just hand over the names and wishes to go to London and pass them on in person. The trouble is the names are held by the Spanish nobleman and his daughter, who is ostensibly travelling to the Low Countries to marry. Their ship is wrecked off Ireland’s coast and the nobleman killed. His daughter is captured by Irish rebels who believe that she is actually there to help them evict the English. Lots of intrigue around this, drawing in the nobleman’s daughter’s maid, who is a Carib slave but a lot more intelligent than her mistress.


In London there are two factions, one that wishes to subdue Ireland by killing as many Irish rebels as possible and another which wishes a more reasonable outcome but with England still ruling the Island. Returning to London Spenser is drawn in to this intrigue and tries to hold out the names for some advancement. Unfortunately, he gets himself killed! Shelby is then sent as a Physician to be part of the army that Elizabeth sends to subdue Ireland, but everyone knows he is a spy for Cecil this his task is made much more difficult, and he finds himself actually working as a physician to the army, and quite a successful one. Shelby has taken his beautiful and resourceful wife with him, ostensibly as the pharmacist able to make potions to assist his work. She is captured by rebels and held in the same castle as the Spanish nobleman’s daughter and her slave/companion.

The commander of the army sent by Elizabeth is the Earl of Essex who is ill with flux (dysentery) and also, Shelby suspects, suffering from syphilis but nobody is brave enough to tell the Earl this. Consequently, Essex has mood swings which affect the campaign, which is not going well. Essex makes a pact with the rebels, something he was expressly forbidden to do and returns to London to see the Queen to explain. Shelby’s wife escapes from the rebels and he, his wife and the slave/companion, who knows the names of the Spanish noblemen as she has been part of the family, very quickly return to London with this information for Cecil. Hinted throughout is a plot against Elizabeth by certain English noblemen and this return to London by the main parties brings about the denouement whereby all is revealed.

All in all a good tale of the machinations at Court in late Elizabethan times and the description of herbs used to cure or alleviate symptoms in those days is very interesting and adds to the story, although at times it drags it out a bit. The description later in the book of people bursting in to the Queen’s bedchamber before she had her make-up on his hilarious and must have been hugely shocking to those involved at the time.

This is a good factional story of Elizabethan times and within it are several sub-plots/stories which taken together weave into the tale of intrigue, plotting and treason. The Historical Note at the end gives the real outcome of the various comings and goings that were part of life at Court in those days.

4/5 Mr Mushroomheads

Amazon product

"Set in Elizabethan times, this is one of a series from the ‘Jackdaw’ series but is a stand alone story in its own write (pun!)."

John Lennon walt.
 

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