James Forrester is the pen name of the well-respected historian Dr Ian Mortimer, who is an expert on the mediaeval period and has published a number of scholarly and popular books about the period. Sacred Treason is his first novel, set against the background of Catholic plots against the young Queen Elizabeth. The book is rich in historical detail, as would be expected, but is also by all accounts a well plotted and engrossing example of historical fiction, likened by a number of reviewers to the books of CJ Sansom. As I have discussed previously, Sansom's early books have become extremely collectable. It is much too early to say whether Forrester will have similar success, but a sequel is under way and now may well be the time to pick up a signed first edition at a bargain price.
"London, December 1563. England is a troubled nation. Catholic plots against the young Queen Elizabeth spring up all over the country. At his house in the parish of St Bride, the herald William Harley – known to everyone as Clarenceux - receives a book from his friend and fellow Catholic, Henry Machyn. But Machyn is in fear of his life, claiming that the book is deadly... What secret can it hold? And then Clarenceux is visited by the State in the form of Francis Walsingham and his ruthless enforcers, who will stop at nothing to gain possession of it. If Clarenceux and his family are to survive the terror of Walsingham, and to plead with the queen’s Secretary of State Sir William Cecil for their lives, Clarenceux must solve the clues contained in the book to unlock its dangerous secrets before it’s too late. And when he does, he realises that it's not only his life and the lives of those most dear to him that are at stake..."