The Traitor's Mark by DK Wilson
|The Traitor's Mark by DK Wilson|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Young Goldsmith Thomas Treviot returns in the second of D K Wilson's Treviot series. Set amongst the turbulent background of the 1500's, this is a murder mystery that grips and entertains with fantastically strong characters, a thrilling setting and a well thought out plot.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: March 2015|
1543 - Hans Holbein - famed artist of both that time and today, has disappeared. When Thomas Treviot is left awaiting a design from Holbein, he goes to track him down - only to end up drawn into a conspiracy which threatens to destroy those he loves, and all he holds dear...
Treviot first appeared in The First Horseman - the book which established Treviot as a young goldsmith drawn into a religious conspiracy, following his struggles to find the plotters and to save the King. A read that was both enjoyable and tense, I was looking forward to reading the second in the series.
Thankfully, D K Wilson has not disappointed - The Traitor's Mark is a hugely involving read that feels slightly more ambitious and large scale than The First Horseman, and yet still keeps hold of what made The First Horseman such a success - strong, likeable characters with intelligent motives and realistic reactions. Treviot is so easy to like it is impossible not to root for him, and the family of friends he has gathered around him in the seven years that have passed since The First Horseman.
The setting too means that a sense of danger and worry is palpable - the constant struggles, both of power and religion in the 1500's, meant that the everyday man had to exist in a world that was constantly changing - with the rules being rewritten regularly, and things that were once highly encouraged made punishable by death. In fact, the Prologue and Epilogue make clear how dangerous, unpredictable and treacherous that time was more than any history books have ever done.
The plot, much like The First Horseman before it, makes use of an unsolved Tudor mystery and uses a cast of both fictional and real personages in order to solve the case. Hans Holbein did, according to records, die in the autumn of 1543. In the late 1600's, it was reported that this death was due to the plague - and yet there is little evidence to support this, leading to suspicions and rumours about what truly happened to the artist. The author builds a very credible case, and such historical figures as Thomas Cramner, Thomas Howard, Edward Seymour and John Marbeck appear and interact with our main cast.
The sense of setting is also excellent - despite being set in a London nearly five hundred years ago, I was able to read this book on my lunch break near where Treviot would have lived - and despite the stream of buses, businessmen and taxis - I was able to be easily swept back to the turbulent and torrid 1500's.
Some grumble that historical fiction is often not accurate, and leads many to become interested in a romanticised and polished version of the past whilst discounting the facts and realities that history is made up of. Personally I think that is all a load of tosh - as far as I am concerned, anything that sparks an interest in history or further reading should be heartily encouraged, and acclaimed historian Wilson writes layered characters who are interacting in very real circumstances - meaning that he breathes life into history book facts and encourages one to learn more and to look in to the mystery of Holbein's disappearance oneself.
A fantastic follow up to the first Treviot novel, The Traitor's Mark is a fantastic read - I cannot wait for the many more books in this series that are sure to follow.
Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.
In terms of further reading - obviously - the first in the Treviot series is a marvellous place to start. Additionally, Revelation (Matthew Shardlake 4) by C J Sansom, the fourth in the Shardlake series, is set in the same year and involves much of the same religious mania and cut throat atmosphere.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Traitor's Mark by DK Wilson at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Traitor's Mark by DK Wilson at Amazon.com.
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