The Firemaster's Mistress

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9780007180691: The Firemaster's Mistress

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November ...On the fourth centenary of Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up King James I and his parliament, here is the true, astonishing and never-before-told story of the infamous Gunpowder and Treason conspiracy. Through the eyes of the courtesan Kate Peach and the Fire Master Francis Quoynt, the dramatic plot of Guy Fawkes and his fellow Papist hotheads unfolds in the gaudy, conspiracy-ridden streets of Shakespeare's Southwark, the court of King James I at Whitehall, and the lanes of the fishing village of Brighton. The official story of the Gunpowder Plot, put together for his own advantage by the First Minister Robert Cecil, has for centuries concealed with whitewash the scale of the threat posed to the new Stuart dynasty. Cecil is not the villain, though, that title goes to Francis Bacon. There is savage enmity between these two intellectual giants, tempestuous love between Kate Peach and Quoynt, and a terrorist incident in the 17th century on the scale of 9/11 2001 - even though it was foiled, we still remember it. This wonderful, complex story tears a big hole in a cherished piece of history revealing a shared delusion four hundred years old, a very surprising and satisfying love story, and a new conspiracy theory that is chillingly appropriate to the present day.

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About the Author:

Christie Dickason was born in America but also lived as a child in Thailand, Mexico and Switzerland. Harvard-educated, and a former theatre director and choreographer (with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at Ronnie Scott's among others), she lives in London with her family.

From Publishers Weekly:

Set during the turbulent British 1600s, author Dickason vividly captures James I's reign and Guy Fawkes's plot to blow up London's Parliament in a novel of romance and intrigue. After the discovery of a young fisherman's body, whose death somehow ties in to a plot against the king, young explosives expert Francis Quoynt accepts a dangerous mission from the Earl of Salisbury: he must turn traitor to England in order to infiltrate the band of men plotting the king's assassination. Also in London is Francis's former lover Kate Peach, whose family was killed by the plague and whose Catholicism endangers her life. Taking up her father's glove-making trade, albeit illegally, Kate hopes to save up enough money to flee London and her cruel protector and some-time lover, Hugh Traylor. When she and Francis reunite, passion sparks but mistrust runs high. Though the leads are strong, especially the believably conflicted Kate, Dickason keeps adding new players throughout, some real and some fictional (a helpful character list makes the distinction); keeping track of their relationships is a challenge, complicated by a narrative that bounces among the principals. That said, Dickason's tale is fascinating, offering an unexpected level of complexity and a shocker of an ending. (Oct.)
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