Christian Hardy is back. Tasked by the English spymaster Robert Cecil to hunt down the enemies of the state, he finds himself on the trail of Catholic plotters intent on killing the King and changing forever the course of history. Gunpowder is at the centre of the conspiracy. Guarding thirty-six barrels of the explosive beneath the Palace of Westminster is Guido Fawkes and in a stately home north of Warwick is a young princess chosen by the traitors to be their future monarch. It is the intelligencer Hardy who must find the link. Regicide and treason are in the air and overthrow is imminent. For Hardy, there is threat at every turn and old enemies in wait.
JJ comments: ‘The Gunpowder Plot is the big one, the terrorist spectacular that might have been. It seemed to be crying out for the thriller treatment, so I hope I managed to deliver. It is compelling history. Given that my first thriller (Dead Headers) was written as a warning of future mass terrorism, there was a certain logic in turning to the original article. Treason is the result
‘There is no-one writing fictionalized history today, backed by ferocious research, like James Jackson. With his latest, Treason, he has done it again and the reading lamp just burns on through the night’.
Almost two hundred years have passed since the Crusader armies took Jerusalem. Now it is the turn of the Saracen to seek revenge and for the Mameluk Sultan of Egypt to send his massed force against the last key Christian enclaves in the holy land. In the royal city of Acre, the defenders prepare and await their fate. Knight and bishop, mercenary and merchant, all will be tested and may perish. For this is the endgame, the closing moments in a sprawling religious conflict. No quarter will be given and no mercy shown.
William of Beaujeu, Grand Master of the Templars, will stop at little to secure the city and preserve his legendary Military Order. Time is running out and resources are few and the princes of Europe will not come to his aid. But among the garrison are allies the adventurer De Flor, Theobald the young Hospitaller, the court dwarf Amethyst, the camel master Selim, and the orphan boy and spy Benedict individuals who must stay alive in the chaos to be unleashed. In their midst prowl the feared Assassins and sinister enemies from among a rabble army of Italians. Everyone is trapped and everywhere is danger. And the Grand Master knows that final judgement is approaching.
JJ comments: ‘Both Walsingham, the great spy chief, and Drake, the legendary seafarer, have always been heroes of mine. They are giants of English history and are part of that handful of people who dominated and defined the Elizabethan era. To have the opportunity to set a thriller against the epic backdrop of their struggles against an ever-threatening Spain was too good to pass up. It showed me how much of that period remains invisible below the water-line: perfect conditions for the writer. The book also features an Irish dog – Fearnot – based on the beloved Irish Terriers that have delighted so many generations of my family. I owe it to the breed to include one of its number’.
‘Jackson has established himself as a fine storyteller
Perdition keeps the standard flying high’.
‘This is historical writing at its best’.
HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW
‘The history is reliable and convincing and a firm nod to twenty-first-century happenings’.
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
‘Brimming with action, conspiracy and burning ambition,
Perdition brings history to life in all its gory technicolour’.
WE LOVE THIS BOOK.COM
1588. In Lisbon the great Spanish Armada prepares to set sail for England. Along the coast of the Low Countries, the army of the Duke of Parma readies itself for embarkation. Threat is imminent. Yet behind it is a darker and more secretive game, one of espionage and murder, of treachery and deceit. The stiletto-blade to the back, the poison in the chalice, the tortuerer’s rack in the dungeon. This is the realm of the spy. And at its heart is the legendary Elizabethan spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham. One-by-one his intelligence sources vanish, day-by-day the danger to his queen and country grows. Finally, he sends the young soldier and agent Christian Hardy to discover the truth. But to reach it, Hardy must confront the deadliest of foes, the Spanish Inquisition, turncoats among his own, and the might of the enemy fleet. Time is running out. For Hardy, for England, for its sovereign queen Elizabeth…
Cometh the Hour – Cometh the Hero
JJ comments: ‘Any siege an every last stand has a particular poignancy. Events at Acre marked the end of the Crusader age and the start of the rapid decline of the Templars. It was a turning point on which much depended. Because the stakes were high for both Christians and Moslems and because it involved a clash of ideas as well as armies the Siege of Acre is a gift for the thriller-writer. I hope I have brought the story to life‘.
‘I could not put it down’.
HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW
‘Brings history alive’.
1212. The forces of Christendom are on the march again. There is much to avenge. Twenty-five years ago, the Christian army lay shattered on the desolate plain of the Horns of Hattin, slaughtered by mighty Saladin, ruler of the Moslem world. The Holy Land seemed lost. But now the pope has called for crusade. Many take the cross for pilgrimage or battle. Among them is Otto, a young noble in search of his vanished Hospitaller knight father, and Brother Luke, a mysterious Franciscan on a mission of his own. And then there are the children – tens of thousands of them – pledged to recapture Jerusalem and find the True Cross, the holiest of relics lost to the forces of Islam. But nothing can prepare them for what they will face. From the island fortress of the Templars to the mountain redoubts of the murderous Assassins, from the secret lair of leper knights to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the pilgrims’ journey is beset by treachery and horror, violence and dread. There are allies at hand – the beautiful Lady Matilda of Acre and the wayward Sergeant Hugh, former bodyguard to Richard the Lionheart himself – but they may not be enough. For dangers press in and the way ahead is perilous. Some will not survive
What they seek is Truth -
What they find is Hell
A Sunday Times Bestseller
JJ comments: ‘The story of the Children’s Crusade has always haunted me. When you consider that the distance between Cologne and Genoa is almost seven hundred miles, that the children covered this in two months without adequate food, shelter or footwear, then their feat becomes even more remarkable. It was an extraordinary period of superstition, violence and religious fervour. I hope I have captured it with Pilgrim’.
1565, Malta – and the greatest siege the world has ever known…
The legendary Hospitaller Knights of St. John stand alone on the small Mediterranean island of Malta against the tide of Islam. The Ottoman emperor, Suleiman the Magnificent, has sent the greatest armada ever to set sail to wipe them off the face of the earth. And there is a traitor among them. Time is running out and Matla’s doom is sealed. But one man will never yield. Englishman Christian Hardy will stop at nothing to save the island. With a band of close companions – the Moor, genius inventor of demonic weapons; Hubert, the would-be warrior priest; the young orphan Luqa and Maria, the beautiful noblewoman who risks all to be with him – Christian must unmask the spy within, take a stand against an unbeatable foe, and change the course of history.
A small island, an epic siege –
And world history hangs in the balance
JJ comments: ‘Even as a small child I was fascinated in the story of the 1565 Great Siege of Malta. The fact that the Hospitaller Knights were the last of the great military orders left from the era of crusade, that they were essentially making their final stand, always appealed to me. They were outcasts, despised and distrusted by much of Europe. Yet their defence of this small island defined the political and military map of Europe for decades afterwards. That makes for a great story’.
‘This is history – and terrific history – on every page’.
‘A superb setting for a historical novel’.
Historical novels review
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1942. The war grinds on, losses mount, and the Allies search for a magic bullet that will bring a swift conclusion. When their intelligence services are approached by a senior officer of the German Abwehr, a process begins that could shatteringly alter the course of history.
JJ comments: 'While visiting locations linked to Operation Foxley - the embryonic British intelligence plan to assassinate Adolf Hitler - I became immersed in the subject. Having then discovered that the wartime heads of both MI6 and the American OSS met Admiral Wilhelm Canaris of Germany's military intelligence in Spain to discuss a possible overthrow, the pieces for a thriller fell into place. This is the result'.
1943. On the Eastern Front the Germans are losing the battle; to the west, they are assailed by the Allied Powers. But in a snow-clad valley in the Hartz mountains of central Germany, a British agent observes the visit of a senior Nazi to a top secret location. That Nazi is Hermann Goering and the Reichsmarschall does not have surrender on his mind.
JJ comments: 'It was a moving and salutary experience to visit the tunnels of Nordhausen in which the Nazis built their V2 rockets. Given this facility was controlled by the SS while Goering was in charge of Germany's nuclear programme, the plot-lines started to form. Sixty thousand slave labourers worked on those tunnels and only half emerged alive. It is history worth remembering'.
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