Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau

Genre: Historical Fiction 
Series: Joanna Stafford #2
Publication Date: 5th March 2013
Pages: 427
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: 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…

My Thoughts:
I found Nancy Bilyeau's debut novel The Crown completely riveting and I've been waiting somewhat impatiently for the sequel to learn what becomes of Dominican novice Joanna Stafford of the out-of-favour Stafford family. The Chalice is without doubt worth the wait. 

Set during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, a time of great religious upheaval, Joanna is central to a prophecy with profound bearing on the English Reformation and Christendom. Tudor England gets my heart racing and to read of the political and theological dispute, the intrigue and subterfuge of this period from the unique perspective of a former novice' is refreshing and exciting. 

I'm a die hard Tudor fan but there is nothing I love more than a history lesson that doesn't feel like a history lesson. Hand on heart this pacey historical mystery is the perfect blend of historical accuracy and plausible artistic licence. Bilyeau's meticulous research shows, embellishments enhance rather than intrude and the pages literally fly. 

I love being inspired to delve further into the history of a period and Nancy Bilyeau has outdone herself with The Chalice. 

Recommend: Absolutely!!

See my review of The Crown 

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Thanks to Nancy, Orion Books and Amy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for my copy of The Chalice. 

UK/Aust cover


  1. Wow the Uk Aussie cover looks really good :)

  2. This book (series) sounds very interesting. Will keep my eye out for it for sure.

    1. Knowing your tastes Caspette, I'm confident you'll love Nancy's books :)

  3. Oooh I love a history lesson that doesn't feel like a history lesson...will have to add this one to my 'to-read' pile

  4. I really liked the first book in this series and so I am looking forward to reading this one in the next couple of weeks. I am picky about my Tudor reads these days but I have high hopes.

    1. Ooh hope you love it Marg, I'll keep an eye out for your review!

  5. I must get on board with this series!! I have been reading my fun romance books and for now they're keeping me happy but I will have to add some great historical fiction to the mix!!

    1. You'll enjoy these Staci, fast paced historical fiction works well with fun romance ... just ask me lol

  6. First off, I must tell you that I'm visiting your blog after reading my friend Staci's blog post about you and the great picture you took with Kristan Higgins! Your review has me more interested in reading The Chalice. I am one that likes historical fiction although as you said like to learn a history lesson that doesn't feel like one.

    FYI...the post above mine appears to be spam. I wouldn't want to click on that link about Runescape accounts. I've gotten the same comments and had to delete them on my blog.

    1. So glad you're visiting my blog from Staci's, I love Staci to bits :) Thanks for picking up that spam too Bonnie, it slipped past me but I've deleted it now.

      I love historical fiction and since you've mentioned you're also a fan, I'd just about guarantee you'll love The Crown and The Chalice.


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