From Publishers Weekly
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)
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England was spared the massive bloodletting of the religious wars that shredded the Continent after the Protestant Reformation, yet the intensity of the religious hostility engendered by the revolution of Henry VIII cannot be minimized. That hostility is best symbolized by the fabled Gunpowder Plot, in which Roman Catholics, purportedly led by Guy Fawkes, conspired to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The precise details of the plot were always murky, but the effects were clear; Catholicism in England was viewed as a form of treason, suggesting allegiance to foreign powers (Spain and the papacy). Hogge, who is descended from a family of devout Catholics, has written a tense, taut, real-life political thriller that examines the plot and the motivations of the plotters and those who thwarted them. She effectively re-creates a world of religious fanaticism in which seemingly trivial theological disputes are matters of life and death. Hogge combines first-rate analytical skills and a flair for conveying irony and high drama to present an excellent examination of this famous episode in English history. Jay FreemanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved