Thursday, 11 September 2014

The First Blast of The Trumpet (The Knox Triology)

Please see below for info about giveaway!

Set in the turbulent midst of 16th century Scotland the book takes you deep inside the daily lives and loves of three young women who as childhood friends and rivals will face wildly different fates as they grow older. From unwanted marriage, to being mistress to the king or being chosen to be prioress of an abbey, their struggles and triumphs are recorded in a growing tapestry of emotion and colour conveyed through a masterful use of Scots and English language, which perfectly captures the atmosphere of the time.

What I particularly enjoyed about this tale is that the author has not attempted to create a rose-tinted version of this historical Scotland but rather portrays a warts-and-all depiction where the poor can be trampled into the mud by the wealth of church potentates with as little thought as standing on a snail. Life is cheap!

A recurring theme throughout the book is just how little control any of the characters have over their lives. One girl will be married, one will become prioress of Haddington's St Mary's Abbey on orders from her uncle! Family duty must come before all else!

It is only with the introduction of John Knox as he grows from infancy to teenage years that this predetermined, unchangeable fate is challenged. Appalled by the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, where salvation can be purchased wholesale from priests, which he has been chosen to serve (again, choices made by others forcing people to follow a pre-ordained route in life), young Knox starts to be drawn towards the 'heretical' ideas of the Protestant reformers. When the Church responds to the challenge of reform by becoming ever more entrenched in blind dogma and lashes out in a frenzy of show trials and public burning of heretics, Knox, along with more and more of the common folk is drawn further and further from the control of Rome until Knox turns from the church completely.

Having rejected his assigned fate of being a priest, he is reluctantly at first persuaded into preaching the reformed Word of God with a fiery passion which dismays those who love him. His public defying of Church authority cannot go unpunished and so it will prove to be. For Knox, who has rejected all notion that he must follow a course laid out for him by others, and wishes to spread the truth of the Reformed Religion, he knows he must 'dree his weird'!

Marie Macpherson has produced one of those books which once you start reading, sinks its hooks deep in you and won't let go until you reach the end. I look forward with anticipation to reading the next instalment of this fine tale. This book is but the first blast of the trumpet for what looks sure to become a triumph.

Marie MacPherson has so graciously made available TWO copies of First Blast of the Trumpet, and all you have to do to get your name in on the draw is comment below~~simple as that! Facebook users may also comment on this review's associated thread

Available for purchase at Amazon and Amazon UK

About the author...
Marie Macpherson (nee Gilroy) was born in the Honest Toun of Musselburgh, six miles from the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. After gaining an Honours Degree in Russian and English, she spent a year in Moscow and Leningrad to research her Ph.D. thesis on the work of the 19th century Russian writer, Lermontov, said to be descended from the Scottish poet and seer, Thomas the Rhymer.

The rich history of East Lothian - especially the Reformation period - provides the inspiration for her first fictional work, based on the early life of the Scottish reformer, John Knox.

Prizes and awards include the Martha Hamilton Prize for Creative Writing from Edinburgh University and 'Writer of the Year 2011' title awarded by Tyne & Esk Writers.

She is a member of the Historical Writers' Association.

30 comments:

  1. I had the honor of reviewing this fine book as well, and it delivered far more than I anticipated. It is really much more about human strengths and frailties than it is about Knox, and it is told with great wit and sophistication. As Stuart warns, once you are hooked, you are in for a long night.

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    1. and grateful thanks for your in-depth review an dcomments, Linda!

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  2. Your book sounds fascinating, Marie! I love historical fiction and romance that reaches deep into the history of the time.

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    1. Thanks Regan - this is turbulent period of Scottish history is fascinating and often overlooked.

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  3. This sounds like a must read, Telling the story as it was , Life was difficult for women in those days, A must have for all us Scottish women

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    1. It was a 'sair fecht' for women in those days Elisabeth - and 'my' Elisabeth the prioress must have been a fesity dame to deal with all the religious & political wranglings.

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  4. This book is right up my street! I am going to be buying this and placing it at the very top of my TBR, so it will be the next book that I read!

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    1. Thanks Louise! Hope it meets your expectations!

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  5. What a fascinating subject! As a Roman Catholic who also queries why the church is so wealthy when there are entire countries suffering privation, this looks like a great read! Thanks for such an informative review!

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    1. And I too am grateful to Stuart for the review and Paula for hosting!

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  6. Fab review. Sounds like a great read.

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  7. I enjoy that period of history and always like strong female characters ( which is why I also enjoy the work of Dorothy Dunnett), and earlier this year I have been watching a DVD series on the Reformation and its protestant heroes, which include Knox ( and Zwingly). Mike Brain

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    1. please dont forget to let us know your name and leave a contact number so we know who you are if you win

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  8. Mike, I also made a mini-documentary giving the historical background with stunning photography of the locations. Can be viewed on YouTube: John Knox and the birth of the Scottish Reformation

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    1. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40PV0rll6dw

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  9. This sounds like it would be a great read. Would be pleased to win a copy

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  10. This sounds to be right up my alley. Fab review, Stuart; this is a have-to-read now!

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    1. That's 3 wishes Paula - may they all come true!

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    1. ... and Stuart has given a great review!!

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  13. I often wondered how Scotland changed from a Catholic country, with Mary Queen of Scots as a ruler, to the Church of Scotland and John Knox.This book sounds like it will answer my question.Thank you for the giveaway.

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    1. Denise! , you are the lucky winner of the mobi giveaway for this book. Unfortunately we dont have your contact - can you please email thereviewgroup.blogspot.co.uk so we can send you it

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    2. Hi Paula. I tried sending you an email, but it wouldn't go through. My email address is:
      denannduvall@gmail.com

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    3. Thank you very much for the book. I look forward to reading it. I often wonder about the religion question, since my grandmother, who died before my parents met, was from Scotland and a devout Catholic.Apparently, when my grandparents married it was in a Protestant church. Her parents were very upset and my grandparents had a second ceremony in a Catholic church.

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  14. The Reformation was indeed a turbulent time in Scottish History Denise and I hope to explore it further in the next 2 books of the trilogy! If I'm spared!

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