The Chalice

The Chalice - Nancy Bilyeau As she did with The Crown, Bilyeau has once again written an excellent historical novel. Again we are taken to the perilous times of the reign of Henry VIII. Anne Boleyn and Jane Seymour are both dead, but Henry finally has his heir in prince Edward. However, the king is in search of another wife and that is the talk of the kingdom, along with the alliance of France with the Emperor Charles. As Henry has dissolved all of the monasteries and religious houses and continues to break from the church, the Pope's letter announcing the excommunication of king Henry is close to being made official. It is still a dangerous time and plots to overthrow the king are watched for and quashed. Many find themselves imprisoned in the tower. And those who give or seek out prophecies...prophecies that imply the demise of the king...are dealt with swiftly.Our heroine, Joanna, finds herself once again thrust into this world of danger and intrigue. A world she has stridently tried to avoid. Making a life for herself and her small cousin, Arthur, in the town of Dartford, she is content to continue her worship and start her own tapestry weaving business, even if some of the townspeople are less than gracious toward the ex-nuns of Dartford Priory. But her simple life does not last. She is invited, along with Arthur, to stay for a time with her cousin, Henry Courtenay and his wife, Gertrude, the Marquess and Marchioness of Exeter. As she embarks on her stay with her relatives, she finds herself once again drawn into the world of political intrigue, secrets, and prophecies.I won't go any further into the plot because I don't want to give anything away, but as you can tell, The Chalice is quite an exciting read. So well-written and historically accurate. I once again find myself greatly interested in the historical figures depicted. Even though I've been feeling over-saturated with the Tudors, with this book I'm learning new things that make me want to go in search of more historical information. For a book to inspire this kind of interest in history (as I'm sure it will), especially in those who aren't big history buffs like me, is a feather in the cap of the historical fiction genre. I praise the author on another fantastic novel. She is working on a third book and I can't wait to read it! Truly, I will look forward to any books Bilyeau has published.