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God's Secret Agents
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A thrilling account of treachery, loyalty and martyrdom in Elizabethan England from an exceptional new writer. As darkness fell on the evening of Friday, 28 October 1588, just weeks after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, two young Englishmen landed in secret on a Norfolk beach. They were Jesuit priests. Their aim was to achieve by force of argument what the Armada had failed to do by force of arms: return England to the Catholic Church. Eighteen years later their mission had been shattered by the actions of a small group of terrorists, the Gunpowder Plotters; they themselves had been accused of designing `that most horrid and hellish conspiracy'; and the future of every Catholic they had come to save depended on the silence of an Oxford joiner, builder of priest-holes, being tortured in the Tower of London. `God's Secret Agents' tells the story of Elizabeth's `other' England, a country at war with an unseen enemy, a country peopled - according to popular pamphlets and Government proclamations - with potential traitors, fifth-columnists and assassins. And it tells this story from the perspective of that unseen `enemy', England's Catholics, a beleaguered, alienated minority, struggling to uphold its faith. Ultimately, `God's Secret Agents' is the story of men who would die for their cause undone by men who would kill for it.
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Promotional Information

/ Lead title / Includes PS Section A thrilling account of treachery, loyalty and martyrdom in Elizabethan England from an exceptional new writer. / Brilliant debut from a brilliant new writer of history -- Alice Hogge's book uncovers a forgotten strand of our history and is accessible, character-driven and gripping. / Tells the story of Britain caught in religious extremism, of torture and betrayal. It tells the story of men with great courage and faith, facing grisly martyrdom every day. / Based on original research, this is the first time the story of the Jesuit mission in Britain has been told in this way. / Competition: David Starkey; Antonia Fraser

About the Author

Alice Hogge was educated at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. She lives in London. This is her first book.

Reviews

As historian Hogge points out in this sometimes dry and sometimes lively popular religious history, the impulse to return Catholicism to England in the latter part of the 16th century arose with the establishment of the Anglican Church. In the early days of her reign, Elizabeth instituted strict laws regarding church attendance and religious practice with punishments that included fines and death. By the time that James I ascended to the throne, persecution of Catholics had risen to such a pitch that a group of Catholic conspirators, including most famously Guy Fawkes, hatched a plot to blow up Parliament. Hogge provides a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the priests-such as Edmund Campion, John Gerard and Henry Garnet-who made martyrs of themselves in their efforts to reinstate Catholicism in England. Hogge deftly narrates the seething world of religious conflict in late 16th- and early 17th-century England, as well as the intra-Catholic conflicts that arose in the face of persecutions by the throne. Anyone interested in vibrant details of the Gunpowder Plot will have to look elsewhere, since the event plays a small role in Hogge's book, but for a detailed sketch of the religious conflict that led to the plot, Hogge's book provides a starting point. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'Vivid and moving!Hogge is brilliant at evoking the climate of suspicion and fear.' The Spectator 'A compelling and at times harrowing story!beautifully told!Hogge's eloquent account of religion, desperation and extremism is unexpectedly timely.' Waterstones Quarterly 'Hogge paints a vivid picture of the stresses of operating in secret, under false identification, in constant fear of betrayal, and deprived even of contact with their fellow priests.' Sunday Times

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