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Treason: A Catholic Novel of Elizabethan England Paperback – March 31, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Joseph Pearce, Writer-in-Residence, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts
"Treason is one of the most powerful historical novels I've ever read. It brings to vivid and shocking life the age in which Shakespeare lived and in which the English martyrs died."

--Personal Endorsements

About the Author

Dena Hunt taught English at the University of New Orleans until her conversion to Christianity in 1984. Following her reception into the Roman Catholic Church, she returned to her native Georgia and taught in rural high schools for the next twenty years. It was not until after her retirement and a pilgrimage to England in 2006 that she started writing. Since then, she has published many short stories, essays, and reviews in print and online. Treason is her first full-length novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Sophia Institute Press (March 31, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933184922
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933184920
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I loved this book. I think it will appeal to so many: Christians, whether congregationalist, Anglican, or Catholic (and I have been all of the above)--or anyone who wonders how Christians can kill one another in the name of the Gospel. Lovers of history, especially English history. And above all, lovers of fiction, those who know fiction often holds more truth than does "history."

Editor Joseph Pearce is spot on when he compares "Treason" to Robert Hugh Benson's "Come Rack! Come Rope!" as well as to Benson's "Lord of the World." Stories from Christianity's past necessarily read just like apocalyptic fiction. This is our history (one often sanitized and revised away), but it is also our future. Convicting, it asks whether the Son of Man will indeed find faith on the earth when He returns. It also begs the reader whether he will be a martyr (for that is the true meaning of "witness"). That martyrdom can be either white or red, but there is no third alternative.

Some historical fiction reads like a history lesson with paper characters pasted on. Dena Hunt's writing is nothing like that. She has a gift for story-telling, and for creating characters. The plot is very human, but interwoven with the mystery of God's providence. There is much theology here, but without preaching. She writes of the complexity of that white martyrdom, and the choices forced on Christians through circumstances beyond their control. Politics, marriage, money, sexuality--all are here, all challenged by the Gospel call.

In some ways, this is the novel Benson would have written a century later. But more than an update, it also illustrates how the persecution affected the "simple faithful"--people who would never encounter Mary Stuart or Elizabeth, but whose lives were influenced by their actions.

My only complaint: Too short. I hated for it to end. Brava indeed!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel gets behind the reasons for the behavior of many of the characters involved in Queen Elizabeth's persecution of Catholics. In a story that only covers seven days and a relatively small geographic area, Dena Hunt manages to fully develop a rich cast of characters. One would think that a book of almost 200 pages about only a few days would be tiresome. Not so! The pacing is super.

Dena's attention to detail, not only in her descriptions of people and places but in the terminology she uses in those descriptions, serves to transport the reader to another place and time. I have been to England as a Catholic in the late 1500s. Thanks, Dena!

Deacon Paul Worth
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Format: Paperback
Dena Hunt has knows how to tell a story! As historical novels go, Treason nails the atmosphere of fear, suspicion and terror that gripped England when the monarchy decided that Catholics had to go. In an age where ecumenism is valued more than orthodoxy, it's refreshing to read a novel that tells the truth about "reformation" England and the horrible price exacted on Catholics who refused to compromise their faith. Ms. Hunt has taken a slice of life from the "glorious reign" of Elizabeth I and shows us just what happens when a society re-writes the rules and singles out one group of people for elimination.

Told over the course of just a few days time, a priest, naval officer, his unhappy wife, a widow, an uneasy Protestant vicar, a sheriff and two government spies find themselves linked in a plot that locks them on a collision-course with a destiny that destroys lives, breaks hearts and inspires the lukewarm to resolve. From the first chapter, you won't be able to put this book down.

The parallel with the current age is eerie. Catholics who refused to renounce their religion, their worship and their devotion are shown no tolerance, just as Catholics today who refuse to call killing "choice" and refuse to redefine marriage are backed into a corner that will force them to either renounce their faith or face the consequences. Treason shows us how truly devoted people respond when forced to make difficult choices.
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Format: Paperback
Except for one issue of historical accuracy, I found the book to be an exciting and effective story about recusant Catholics and missionary priests in Elizabethan England.

Matching the achievement of Robert Hugh Benson in depicting the religious conflict and crisis of Reformation England, Dena Hunt adds the element of suspense in Treason: A Catholic Novel of Elizabeth England. With omniscient narration weaving several different story lines in several different locations to a seven day plot, Hunt depicts the underground lives of a missionary priest, the recusant Catholics who shelter him, an unhappily wed wife, an Anglican minister who secretly reads Catholic texts from the Fathers of the Church, and a wealthy family whose home hides many secrets. The various plot lines all come together on the seventh day, and the epilogue depicts the Eighth Day, when two vocations are fulfilled.

Readers of Benson will recognize one of the supporting characters in Hunt's ensemble: Patricia, the Reverend Andrew Wilson's wife resembles Lady Torridon of The King's Achievement in her cold demeanor and dark black eyes and Marion Dent, the Rector's wife in By What Authority in her effect on the recusant Catholics in her village--but without the ducking! But where Benson builds up the tension year after year from 1570 to 1581 and beyond, Hunt presents all that action rapidly, as the main characters meet along the way until they gather at the Anders' home in Somerset and the chaotic climax of the story.
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