as the Spanish Armada prepares to sail, rumours abound of a doomsday device that, were it to fall into enemy hands, could destroy England and her bastard queen once and for allEnter Will Swyfte He is one of Walsingham s new breed of spy and his swashbuckling exploits have made him famous However Swyfte s public image is a fa ade, created to give the people of England a hero in their hour of need and to deflect attention from his real role fighting a secret war against a foe infinitely devilish than SpainFor millennia this unseen enemy has preyed upon humankind, treating honest folk as playthings to be hunted, taken and tormented But now England is fighting back Armed with little than courage, their wits and an array of cunning gadgets created by sorcerer Dr Dee, Will and his colleagues must secure this mysterious device before it is too late Theirs is a shadowy world of plot and counterplot, deception and betrayal, where no one and nothing is quite what they seem At stake is the very survival of queen and country I don t have a date I finished this book because I didn t finish it I very rarely put down a book without finishing it, but I could not survive the first few chapters of this one The story itself was interesting enough I m a big fan of Celtic mythology and I ve loved a number of other books that have touched on Celtic folklore themes Not this one.The characters are just too wooden My overall impression from the first few chapters is a literary finger puppet show where the puppeteers are I don t have a date I finished this book because I didn t finish it I very rarely put down a book without finishing it, but I could not survive the first few chapters of this one The story itself was interesting enough I m a big fan of Celtic mythology and I ve loved a number of other books that have touched on Celtic folklore themes Not this one.The characters are just too wooden My overall impression from the first few chapters is a literary finger puppet show where the puppeteers are not taking it seriously All of the characters use essentially the same voice, and none of them are particularly interesting I did like the descriptive parts of the novel the odd lights in the river at the beginning, the bear fight, the mirror conversations but not enough to suffer through the rest This is not the fault of the author, but my enjoyment of this book was marred by one thing I kept wondering what it would have been like if written by another author.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook This is not the fault of the author, but my enjoyment of this book was marred by one thing I kept wondering what it would have been like if written by another author.Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook I actually really enjoyed this one It was so dark and ominous and bloodthirsty and even though it was long and slower to read in parts overall I really enjoyed the story.I rushed out to get the second book but then never ended up reading it Kinda mad at myself for that But hey, we all know what that means this book will get a re read at some stage Highly recommend for those who love their fantasy dark and gritty. I loved this book Mark Chadbourn does a wonderful job of portraying England as it probably was The dirty crime and grim filled streets, the bad guys lurking in corners of the bad areas There was a slight problem with the first 80 or so pages as it was a little hard to know who the enemy was and who The Enemy was It wasn t fully explained and it almost made me feel as though there was a story I hadn t read But it came full circle and those willing to understand that the explaination comes I loved this book Mark Chadbourn does a wonderful job of portraying England as it probably was The dirty crime and grim filled streets, the bad guys lurking in corners of the bad areas There was a slight problem with the first 80 or so pages as it was a little hard to know who the enemy was and who The Enemy was It wasn t fully explained and it almost made me feel as though there was a story I hadn t read But it came full circle and those willing to understand that the explaination comes slowly will get a lot out of this Another slight problem was almost the same as above, the main character Swyft almost felt as though we should know him already but he does grow on you Over all an author who can write a historical fantasy with the facts and funness that Mark does is wonderful Never once did I think I was reading history instead it was a fantasy with a few historical people A few moments of great action, a carriage ride that is so intense it makes you feel as though you are in the carriage and the fighting on the ships makes me want to see the Spanish armada in action Can t wait forof this series