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Comment: exlibrary hardcover book in mylar jacket with light wear, shows some light reader wear throughout ,all the usual library marks and stamps.
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The Chalice: A Novel Hardcover – March 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476708657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476708652
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Henry VIII has defrocked the priesthood and despoiled the Church’s convents and monasteries, though he has not killed its spirit in this sequel to The Crown (2012), continuing the story of Joanna Stafford, former nun and sometime spy, whose destiny is uncomfortably tied both to prophecy and the Tudors. Lovely Joanna’s naïvete, her budding sexuality, and her inner turmoil, combined with the overwhelming greed of powerful religious and political men, again obscures her vision. Three indecipherable prophecies eventually propel her toward rebellion, and while these omens form the weakest part of the story, Joanna emerges as a compelling character who someow manages to weather a fierce emotional battering and the threat of execution. Presenting his narrative through the eyes of a young woman who eventually must accept the “cup” of her fate, Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom’s Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s The Heretic’s Wife (2010). --Jen Baker

Review

“A brilliant and gripping page-turner…A fascinating blend of politics, religion, mysticism and personal turmoil. Well-researched and filled with sumptuous detail, it follows Joanna’s early life from Bilyeau’s début novel, The Crown, but this book easily stands on its own. Bilyeau fills in the blanks from her earlier work while leaving the reader both wanting to read the first book and eagerly awaiting the next. This is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction.” (Free Lance-Star)

"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." (Parade)

“The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages.” (RT Book Reviews, (Top Pick))

"Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII." (Entertainment Weekly)

“Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page . . . history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller.” (Historical Novel Society)

“Superbly written, well researched.” (Mysterious Women)

"Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom’s Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s The Heretic’s Wife (2010)." (Booklist)

“I loved the story, the characters, and the rich detail of the novel, making you feel you are there with Joanna on every page. So much emotion and drama- as well as facts to keep you riveted from the first page. And surprise twists for even the most hard to please mystery fans! I loved it.” (Bonnie Sommerville DuJour magazine)

"[A] layered book of historical suspense." (Kirkus Reviews)

"The Chalice is a compelling and pacey time machine to the 16th Century. And when you're returned to the present, you'll have enjoyed an adventure and gained a new perspective on a past you'd wrongly thought to be a done deal." (Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist)

The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page. (Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning)

"An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read." (M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist)

"Superbly set in the political and religious turmoil between Henry VIII's queens Jane Seymour and Anne of Cleves, The Chalice is a dark, twisty thriller that I couldn't put down. Nancy Bilyeau's extensive historical research makes the sense of dread, danger, and mysticism permeating this era tangible. Ex-Dominican novice Joanna Stafford is an especially compelling and sympathetic heroine—I adored her!" (Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens)

"Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII's reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed." (C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow)

"An utterly enthralling Tudor thriller." (Kate Forsyth, author of The Wild Girl and Bitter Greens)

"The Chalice is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna—fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do—is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau's second novel." (Shelf Awareness)

More About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau's trilogy of historical thrillers set in Tudor England have been nominated for awards and published in more than nine countries. The protagonist, a Catholic novice named Joanna Stafford, is a woman caught in the crosswinds of time, struggling to survive and protect those she loves in the most dangerous years of the reign of Henry VIII.

Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Ladies' Home Journal and is currently the executive editor of DuJour. She was born in Chicago and grew up in Michigan. Now she lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her debut novel, "The Crown," took five years of research into Tudor England, including traveling to London and Dartford, in Kent, to find the ruins of its lost priory of the Dominican Order. In 2012, "The Crown" was short-listed for the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award by the Crime Writers' Association. The next book in the series, "The Chalice," went on sale this year in North America, the United Kingdom and Germany.

She is currently writing the third suspense-driven historical novel in the trilogy, "The Covenant."

Customer Reviews

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  • "Suspense" 15
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Erika Robuck on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In Reformation England, young novice Joanna Stafford is still reeling from the dissolution of her priory by her distant relation, King Henry the VIII. Used as a pawn by church and state alike, Joanna retires to the town of Dartford to begin a weaving business and try to live a quiet life, but it does not appear to be her destiny. Dragged into a new scandal and at the center of a conspiracy led by prophets and politicians, Joanna must hear the tellings of three seers to learn her ultimate role in the fate of Henry VIII's monarchy.

Traveling through Europe and back, both taken against her will and led by her sense of duty, Joanna's life becomes inextricably entwined in the fate of the kingdom, and only a tremendous act of courage can free her and decide the future.

Tudor England and the surrounding countries never cease to fascinate, and Bilyeau deftly weaves an original and riveting historical mystery. A varied and complex group of characters navigate an intricate plot rich in historical detail, fascinating politics, and forbidden love.

Bilyeau has a gift for animating a long-ago era without burdening the reader. Her characters are so layered that it's hard to tell whom Joanna should trust, whom she should love, and which decisions will most fulfill her. It is this relentless tension that makes the story so engaging, and elevates it above genre suspense. Her characters will linger in the reader's mind long after finishing the novel.

If you enjoy well-written, engaging historical suspense, I highly recommend THE CHALICE. It can be read alone or after reading THE CROWN, though I suggest diving into both in succession.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Susan on April 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read the Crown and really enjoyed it. This one not so much. This one seems more hodge podge, the events don't seem to flow together as in her first book. The chalice is not even mentioned until over half way though. This was more romance less mystery and very depressing. The ending left me not wanting to read her work ever again. I can read the newspaper if I want depression.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly on March 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Chalice is the second book in the Crown series by historical fiction author Nancy Bilyeau that takes place during the reign of King Henry VIII. While I haven't yet read the first book in the series I can say that The Chalice can be read successfully as a standalone but it was so good I'm definitely going to have to borrow The Crown to get more of the author's writing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Chalice. Historical Fiction is one of my favourite genres so it was a real treat to be invited to join the tour for this novel. Rarely have I read a novel that brings this era of England's dark history to life in such a rich and imaginative way that is both captivating and depending on the scenes, disturbing and dark as well.

While I read about Joanna's tale I became completely immersed in the story. For me if an author is able to suck me into the story from the very beginning like Nancy Bilyeau did while I read The Chalice that's a sing that she's an author to watch and after finishing this book I can honestly that Nancy Bilyeau can write anything and I'll read it.

I loved the characters in The Chalice. Joanna is probably one of my top 5 favourite historical fiction heroines ever. Her intelligence, cunning, caring and kind personality really counter balanced the dark undertone of the novel. I was surprised to find that rather than use the side characters more as props to the story the author used them to their full potential making them all integral to the telling of the overall tale which I loved. I love when there's a rich variety of characters that have some real substance to them even if they're the bad guys.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Caroline on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading all the great reviews I happily settled in to read one of my favorite genres. As a historical novel the book is not bad and it is clear to see the author has done her research. There is not much suspense. Real character development is completely lacking. Characters are either "good" or "bad" and our heroine is constantly placed in situations that are completely implausible in order to further the story. Our heroine is, at times, unrealistically brave and while the reader gets the point that she is plucky, the idea of her traveling some distances alone is pretty unbelievable given the times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angie Lisle on December 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I first started this book, I thought it would be the other side of the story between the Catholic-Protestant issues of Henry VIII's reign because so many books cover the Protestant point of view.

Then, the plot delves into a mystical plot revolving around a prophecy. The royal court makes brief appearances; many historical figures appear but most remain in the background.

This series is a good follow-up to any series that delves into the historical events of the time but this book felt like (very well-done) fan-fic. I have no complaints with the writing itself, it's well-crafted but, in the end, I wish the story revolved more around the actual history and less around the magical plot to usurp Henry VIII.

I received a free advanced uncorrected copy in exchange for review and there were a couple of editing mishaps but they should be fixed in the final product.
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