Annal: 2010 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award for Historical Crime Novel

Results of the Dagger Award in the year 2010.

Book:Revenger (Rory Clements)

Revenger: A John Shakespeare Novel

Rory Clements

1592. England and Spain are at war, yet there is peril at home, too. The death of her trusted spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham has left Queen Elizabeth vulnerable. Conspiracies multiply. The quiet life of John Shakespeare is shattered by a summons from Robert Cecil, the cold but deadly young statesman who dominated the last years of the Queen’s long reign, insisting Shakespeare re-enter government service. His mission: to find vital papers, now in the possession of the Earl of Essex.

Essex is the brightest star in the firmament, a man of ambition. He woos the Queen, thirty-three years his senior, as if she were a girl his age. She is flattered by him—despite her loathing for his mother, the beautiful, dangerous Lettice Knollys who presides over her own glittering court—a dazzling array of the mad, bad, dangerous and disaffected. When John Shakespeare infiltrates this dissolute world he discovers not only that the Queen herself is in danger—but that he and his family is also…[more]

Book:Heartstone (C.J. Sansom)

Heartstone: A Matthew Shardlake Mystery

C.J. Sansom

Summer, 1545. England is at war. Henry VIII’s invasion of France has gone badly wrong, and a massive French fleet is preparing to sail across the Channel. As the English fleet gathers at Portsmouth, the country raises the largest militia army it has ever seen. The King has debased the currency to pay for the war, and England is in the grip of soaring inflation and economic crisis.

Meanwhile Matthew Shardlake is given an intriguing legal case by an old servant of Queen Catherine Parr. Asked to investigate claims of “monstrous wrongs” committed against a young ward of the court, which have already involved one mysterious death, Shardlake and his assistant Barak journey to Portsmouth.

Once arrived, Shardlake and Barak find themselves in a city preparing to become a war zone; and Shardlake takes the opportunity…[more]

Book:The Anatomy of Ghosts

The Anatomy of Ghosts

Andrew Taylor

1786, Jerusalem College, Cambridge. The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumoured to be haunting Jerusalem, since disturbed fellow-commoner, Frank Oldershaw, claims to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds.

Desperate to salvage her son’s reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse.

And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted not only by the ghost of his dead wife, Maria, but also Elinor, the very-much-alive Master’s wife his fate is sealed.

Book:Heresy (S.J. Parris)

Heresy: An Historical Thriller

S.J. Parris

Giordano Bruno was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy for his belief that the Earth orbits the sun and that the universe is infinite. This alone could have got him burned at the stake, but he was also a student of occult philosophies and magic.

In S. J. Parris’s gripping novel, Bruno’s pursuit of this rare knowledge brings him to London, where he is unexpectedly recruited by Queen Elizabeth I and is sent undercover to Oxford University on the pretext of a royal visitation. Officially Bruno is to take part in a debate on the Copernican theory of the universe; unofficially, he is to find out whatever he can about a Catholic plot to overthrow the queen.

His mission is dramatically thrown off course by a series of grisly murders and a spirited and beautiful young woman.…[more]

Book:To Kill A Tsar

To Kill A Tsar

Andrew Williams

St Petersburg, 1879. A shot rings out in Palace Square. Cossack guards tackle the would-be assassin to the ground. In the mêlée no one notices a striking dark haired young woman in a heavy coat slip away from the scene. Russia is alive with revolutionaries. While Tsar Alexander II remains a virtual prisoner in his own palaces, his ruthless secret police will stop at nothing to unmask those who plot his assassination and the overthrow of the Imperial regime.

For Dr Frederick Hadfield, whose medical practice is dependent on the Anglo-Russian gentry, these are dangerous times. Drawn into a desperate cat-and-mouse game of undercover assignations, plot and counter-plot, he risks all in a perilous double life. From glittering ballrooms to the cruel cells of the House of Preliminary Detention, from the grandeur of the British Embassy to the underground presses of the young revolutionaries, To Kill a Tsar is a gripping thriller set in a world of brutal contrasts in which treachery is everywhere and nothing is what it seems.

Book:Washington Shadow

Washington Shadow

Aly Monroe

September 1945. Bankrupt and desperate, Britain sends John Maynard Keynes to boom town Washington to beg for a loan. Under cover of the backup team, agent Peter Cotton is sent to investigate the break-up of America’s wartime intelligence agency. Cotton finds himself caught up in a world of shadows involving an extraordinarily attractive girl from the US State Department, a Soviet ex-tank commander claiming to be his opposite number, a contrarian African academic, an ambitious, quick-tempered boss from the world of misinformation…and an Anglo-American conspiracy that will change the world of post-war intelligence for ever.

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