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November 30, 2014

THE HERETIC by Henry Vyner-Brooks




Henry Vyner-Brooks

(from Amazon) 
In 1536 it seems the entire known world is changing--strange new lands are discovered and the Reformation is challenging Rome and its power. In England the king's declaration of a new church and dissolution of the monasteries overturns the customs and authorities of centuries. In the new world order, spies abound and no one can be trusted.
To Brother Pacificus of the Abbey of St. Benet's in Norfolk, it looks like his abbey alone will be spared dissolution. But this last Benedictine house is mired in murder and intrigue. Then when Pacificus falls under suspicion, more than his own dark past comes to light, while the body count keeps rising. Pacificus's fate becomes entwined with that of three local children after their parents are arrested for treason and heresy. Protected only by this errant monk, a mysterious leper, and a Dutch eel-catcher, the children must quickly adjust; seeking their own identity, they soon find that neither parents nor protectors are quite what they seem.
Based on historical events, this post-medieval mystery is laced with romance, fueled by greed, and punctuated with bouts of feasting, smuggling, and jailbreak.
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction; 1st New edition edition (September 19, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782640959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782640950

About the Author

Henry Vyner-Brooks, a landscape architect by training, manages a large estate in the Lake District, a task which he combines with his work as an assistant pastor in a local church. 
SETTING: 1530's
The scene is set in the starting movements and words of the church during the England Reformation.  The author is quite smart in places during the novel as, Pacificus, a holy warrior who is turned to be a pious monk.  He is constantly struggling with internal battles that are coming to the large scale of conflict.  He has a choice, go back to his violent past or he could stay with his pious present.  He has to pick whether to be a heretic in the eyes of the modern church or to  follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The inner struggles of Pacificus is  where the author lets the reader feel the struggles with love and piety, violence and pacifism, and loyalty and deception.
I have a problem with the book.  It is so long and I believe that comes from the large amount of characters that suddenly appear when you don't expect them. Since it is written in present tense that makes it a little harder to keep up with. Also some of the dialogue and bits of the plot which have already been discussed, say 100 pages before tends to make the reader forget what he's already read.
I feel that the book may have been better if it had been written into two books instead of one.  The setting is very exciting and interesting and some of the characters are  put out there as real, but there are too many of them. I did love the historical detail that carried throughout the book.

I was given a complimentary copy of THE HERETIC from the author, Henry Vyner-Brooks and Kregel Publications for my view of this book.  No other compensation took place.
I would give this book 3 STARS. 

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