Reign of the Marionettes


In the reign of Charles II being Catholic is against the law.  There’s much religious intolerance simmering beneath the surface, especially as it’s thought that Charles’ brother James has secretly converted to Catholicism after taking a young Italian bride.  Also from a secretly Catholic family, Elisabeth Herbert finds that these are dangerous times in which to live, even in the higher echelons of society.  Power-seeking Lords have no qualms about the means used to reach their goals. Enter Titus Oates - prepared to make a better life for himself, no matter the expense. At the center of it all is the uncovering of a plot to kill the king and replace him with his Catholic brother.


Anyone with an interest in British history will relish this book.  The author writes well, and her meticulous research is evident in the seamless blending of real and fictional characters.  Readers unfamiliar with the subject may wish to do some research of their own though, as the scant background information in the earlier part of the book makes it difficult to understand what’s happening.  This is compounded by the large number of characters, although a cast list is given at the beginning.  However, it is worth one’s time to persevere, as one will be drawn into the intrigue and life of several centuries ago.  Readers will want to know more, and the author has cleverly used her book as a means of education as well as entertainment.


Heather Belleguelle