A Knight and a Spy 1410 by Simon Fairfax
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Corinium Associates Ltd
Genre: Historical Fiction
January 1410, and King Henry IV is brought down with an unknown illness. Despite his 10 year reign the kingdom is far from secure: he is at odds with his son Prince Hal who vies for a new Council; Owen Glyndower threatens his Welsh border, whilst the Scots are ever in revolt seeking secret alliances with France.
Burgundy and the French King Charles VI plan to take back Calais and re-ignite the 100 years war. England is torn with enemies on each side and within. The court is a swirl of rumours and treachery, with the powerful seeking the ultimate prize: the English crown.
Power is controlled by unlikely forces, the most important of these men is Sir Richard Whittington, merchant, former Lord mayor of London, financier, adviser to the Crown and spy master for the King. Realising the peril of the kingdom, he needs someone who can move inconspicuously abroad and at home. Skilled yet unobtrusive.
Jamie de Grispere: squire in training, son of a merchant, known to Whittington, is tasked to do his bidding and spy for the good of the crown. He holds the future of the realm in his hands. It is a perilous path, from the depths of France to Wales and the Scottish borders. Joining with two comrades he seeks to aid the crown and Sir Richard’s plans for the safety of the realm.
Treachery, the 100 years war, revolts, battles, the wool trade, piracy and pivotal events: all are brought alive in this story of the 15th Century England and the fight for the crown.
Being a book reviewer, you hear author names thrown around and discussed and brought up in conversation; Simon Fairfax is one such author. His name is synonymous with “gifted” and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of his work. Enter A Knight and a Spy.
I was immediately drawn to the time period; not many books on my historical fiction shelf are set during the reign of King Henry IV. And what a turbulent time-period it was! With opposing forces vying for power and control, invasion was coming from most every corner, and the king’s hold on his kingdom was tenuous at best. What better place to drop our main characters? (By the way, I would be terrified of trying to weave a story into 15th century England. The fact that the author did so, and did so brilliantly, is a testament to his writing and to his research.)
The book begins with Cristoforo, running for his life and unexpectedly landing himself in the same room with our other protagonists, and thus our story begins. And rather quickly, at that. Immediately the author sweeps the reader up into the sceneries, the cultures, the dress, the time. The personalities of the main characters begin to emerge, with their individual quirks, humors, flaws and all-around good hearts. Their journey moves seamlessly through Scotland, Calais, Wales. And includes some truly historical characters, that I absolutely adored seeing fleshed out and given humanity. And not once did I successfully put the book down. The suspense of their plight and my impatience to know how things were going to resolve had me tempted to throw cheerios at the kids and a cup of coffee at the husband, so that I could read uninterrupted. Here’s to stuffing my face with comfort cookies while I await the next installment.
Bottom Line: Ditch 2020. Join me in 1410.
About the Author
As a lover of crime thrillers and mystery, I turned what is seen by others as a dull 9 – 5 job into something that is exciting, as close to real life as possible, with Rupert Brett, my international man of mystery whose day job is that of a Chartered Surveyor.
Rupert is an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances who uses his wit, guile and training to survive.
Each book is written from my own experiences, as close to the truth as possible, set against world events that really happened. I go out and experience all the weapons, visit the places Rupert travels to, speak to the technical experts and ensure that it as realistic, as possible allowing you to delve deep in to the mystery, losing yourself in it for a few hours.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, December 14
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Wednesday, December 16
Interview at The Writing Desk
Thursday, December 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Friday, December 18
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Saturday, December 19
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Sunday, December 20
Review at Passages to the Past
Win a paperback copy of A Knight and a Spy 1410 by Simon Fairfax!
The giveaway is open internationally and ends on December 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.