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The Chalice    by Nancy Bilyeau order for
by Nancy Bilyeau
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Crowley

Sister Joanna Stafford once again finds herself at the center of a royal mystery in Nancy Bilyeau's splendid sequel to her bestselling novel, The Crown. The monasteries and the Catholic church have crumbled under the ruthless rule of Henry VIII. But Sister Joanna's new life outside the Dartford Priory is threatened when she is forced into a bizarre world of prophesy and royal plotting. Although Joanna knows her uncle, the Duke of Buckingham was executed for alleged involvement in prophesy, the future of England rests on her joining in a dangerous plot to prevent Henry VIII from completely annihilating the Catholic faith.

Henry VIII's obsession has led to the ultimate threat to all who cherish the old religion. The King has decided to destroy the sacred remains of the Archbishop of Canterbury. When Joanna is reunited with her long lost cousin, Gertrude Courtney, she learns that only she can unravel a prophesy about England's future. Should Henry VIII succeed in finding another wife and producing a son, the attack on the Catholic church will continue. All hope for its future lies in the crowning of Lady Mary. And only Joanna can be privy to the secrets of the seers, who hold the key finding peace in England.

Nancy Bilyeau once again writes Tudor history to perfection. Not only does she craft a delicious Tudor thriller, but she also weaves in an unexpected and tender love story that readers will savor from page to page. Anyone with a passion for Tudor history will not be able to resist this royal gem which brings to life the dangerous days of Henry VIII's rule. Bilyeau concludes with a heartfelt ending that will leave readers on the edges of their seats waiting for the sequel.

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