Monday, March 18, 2013

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: March 7, 2013

In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era. In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last. Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…

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I admit it has been a while since I picked up a Tudor novel. It is such a popular period and there has been such a slew of new titles in the last few years that I suffered a little bit of burn out. This being the case, you can probably understand my initial trepidation at taking on Nancy Bilyeau's The Chalice. 

Having finished the book I look back at laugh at my skepticism. Bilyeau's writing is wonderful not to mention addicting. She strikes the perfect balance between fact and fiction, never over burdening the narrative with dreary monologues or allowing the plot to diverge too far from historic events.


Now as far as protagonists go, you'd be hard pressed to find one comparable to Joanna Stafford. She is intelligent without coming off arrogant and kind without coming off saintly. She is incredibly dynamic, a personality I wanted to read about and at the end of the day a reader can't ask for more than that.   

Unfortunately I can't say how this its piece compared to its predecessor as I've yet to read The Crown, but I will say I appreciated how Bilyeau approached writing a sequel in that she doesn't spend a lot of time rehashing. Written as a standalone, The Chalice can be enjoyed by those with absolutely no knowledge of Bilyeau's work. 

The Chalice is an intriguing suspense made all the more fascinating in its focus on those individuals displaced by Henry's Reformation. Refreshingly different from most Tudor pieces, it is a  compelling page turner that is sure to satisfy. 

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"The reckoning is coming, it is coming," cried John. "Armageddon is at hand. In the end it will devour you all!"
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CHECK OUT ALL THE STOPS ON THE HISTORICAL FICTION VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR OF Nancy Bilyeau's The Chalice


Tuesday, February 26
Review at She Reads Novels
Wednesday, February 27
Review at The Wormhole
Thursday, February 28
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Friday, March 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Monday, March 4
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 5
Review at The Broke and the Bookish
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 7
Review at Turning the Pages
Monday, March 11
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, March 12
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, March 13
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Thursday, March 14
Review at Let Them Read Books
Friday, March 15
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, March 18
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 19
Review at Impressions in Ink
Wednesday, March 20
Review, Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Libraria
Thursday, March 21
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Friday, March 22
Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Monday, March 25
Review at The Novel Life
Review at Devourer of Books
Tuesday, March 26
Review at Historical Tapestry & Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Wednesday, March 27
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, March 28
Review at Layered Pages
Friday, March 29
Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, April 1
Review at Words and Peace
Tuesday, April 2
Giveaway at Words and Peace
Wednesday, April 3
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book
Thursday, April 4
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, April 5
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, April 8
Review at Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, April 9
Review at One Book at a Time
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, April 10
Review at Jenny Loves to Read
Thursday, April 11
Interview at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Friday, April 12
Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at Drey’s Library
Monday, April 15
Review, Interview & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Tuesday, April 16
Review & Giveaway at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, April 17
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, April 18
Interview & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Monday, April 22
Review at Book Drunkard
Tuesday, April 23
Review at A Book Geek
Wednesday, April 24
Review & Giveaway at Review from Here
Thursday, April 25
Review at Historical Novel Review & Great Historicals
Friday, April 26
Review at Enchanted by Josephine
Guest Post & Giveaway at On the Tudor Trail
Monday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Enchanted by Josephine
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Tuesday, April 30
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Wednesday, May 1
Interview at Writing the Renaissance
Thursday, May 2
Review at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books
Friday, May 3
Interview & Giveaway at Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books




1 comment:

Mystica said...

Thanks for the review.