Michael Jecks

Rebellion’s Message

"..the suspense is constant and unrelenting"


It is London in 1554, and Watt's Rebellion is gathering pace. He and his men are marching to London in an attempt to prevent Queen Mary from marrying Prince Philip of Spain. Meanwhile, Jack Blackjack, a young cutpurse, steals a purse in a London tavern and flees through the yard at the back. Someone knocks him out, and when he wakens up he discovers he's next to a dead man who has been stabbed, and he has a bloody knife in his hand. He knows he will be arrested and hung for murder, so he makes good his escape.

But the purse he has stolen is not all it seems - stitched into the lining is a cryptic note. Jack soon learns that some people will gladly kill to get their hands on the note. And indeed, more people are murdered. Can it have anything to do with Wyatt's Rebellion? And can Jack stay one step ahead of the authorities?

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This is the first in a new series of historical thrillers by Michael Jecks, whose previous books were set in the medieval period, and featured Sir Baldwin Furnshill, a former Knight Templar. The events of 1554 he writes about in this book did take place, and some of the characters did exist, and took part in Wyatt's Rebellion. The book is an enjoyable read, and the suspense is constant and unrelenting. Just as Jack thinks that things can't get any worse, they get worse, which kept me reading. He is a likeable, resourceful character, even if he is a thief, and his all-too-human avoidance of being involved in warfare and fighting rings true. Jecks has obviously researched the period - not just the events that were played out at the beginning of 1554, but also its slang and now archaic words, which brings an added enjoyment to reading the book. The other characters are skilfully drawn, and the outcome of the book - who it was who actually stabbed the man in the tavern yard, comes as a surprise while at the same time being inevitable.

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