Publisher: Diversion Books
Type of book: Mystery, thriller, killer disease, secrets, family line, Queen Elizabeth I, the New World, living off grid, secret societies, William Shakespeare, power, desires, goals, strong heroine, word play, games, extinct tribe, pirating
Year it was published: 2016
In this stunning thrill ride, perfect for fans of Dan Brown and Steve Berry, a long-lost manuscript, written for Elizabeth I, holds the key to unlocking the past—and to eliminating the future.
Lee Nicholson is ready to take the academic world by storm, having discovered a sonnet she believes was written by William Shakespeare. When she reads the poem on the air, the words put her life in peril and trigger a violent chase, with stakes that reach far beyond the cloistered walls of academia.
Buried in the language of the sonnet, in its allusions and wordplay, are secrets that have been hidden since Elizabethan times, secrets known only to the queen and her trusted doctor, but guessed at by men who seek the crown and others who seek the world. If the riddles are solved, it could explode what the world knows of the great Elizabeth I. And it could release a pandemic more deadly than the world has ever imagined.
Lee’s quest for the answers buried in the sonnet keeps her one step ahead of an international hunt—from the police who want her for murder, to a group of men who will stop at nothing to end her quest, to a madman who pursues the answers for destructive reasons of his own.
As this intelligent thriller moves back and forth between Tudor England and the present day, Lee begins to piece together the meaning behind Shakespeare’s words, carrying the story to its gasp-out-loud conclusion.
Main characters include Leslie "Lee" Nicholson, a literature major who has discovered a mysterious sonnet written by William Shakespeare. Lee is very knowledgeable when it comes to Elizabethan times and is also very resourceful and fearless. Although she later on partners up with Mark who has his own secrets, Lee does the rescuing and doesn't let others save her. Mark is Lee's love interest and is a very talented chef who also has his own dark secrets that greatly relate to Lee's quest for innocence. I wish I could say that the villain was complex but he wasn't, and his reasons for doing what he did don't really hold water in my view.
One never knows where clues can lead to
The story is in third person narrative from Lee Nicholson's point of view and quickly moved from one point of action to another, helping the reader discover the messages within the mysterious sonnet that was possibly written by William Shakespeare. Just as quickly as that is established, the author moves on to a mysterious murder followed by a 'what-if' scenario of Queen Elizabeth I. Lee Nicholson is a strong heroine who doesn't rely on others but only on herself, which is what I liked when it came to the story. I also loved the clues and the wordplay that the author used, although I'll be honest in saying that the disease thing is a bit beyond me, and I am wondering how much is true and how much is fiction. (Is the disease and the extinct tribe fiction or fact?)
About the AuthorOpinion:
I never knew how much fun a mystery can be until I read The Semper Sonnet. As a teenager still grasping English language, I recall trying out Nancy Drew, but I do remember that I quickly figured out they were not my thing because at the time I feel that I needed books that have settings I am familiar with. Some years pass, and although I moved on from my original view of mysteries thanks to Susan Spann's Shinobi mysteries as well as the last Sano Ichiro book by Laura Joh Rowland, I also have discovered that mysteries can be fun. For me, The Semper Sonnet was a whole lot of fun and a great 'what-if' mystery. While reading it, I recall going back at some points and attempting to understand and solve the clues with Lee Nicholson. I also loved learning and imagining the possible scenarios of Queen Elizabeth I. (I was a bit disappointed that the secret wasn't what I thought it would, that Elizabeth I would be a male...) I also loved the action and protagonists in the book. I do feel that the villain could have used more work because the reader learns very little of him and why the villain behaves that way. I also was a bit surprised that a theory I had when it came to some of the characters turned out to be right, but despite that, the journey is a roller coaster ride that dares to combine history, word play, science and diseases into an electrifying read.
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(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)