Monday, June 23, 2014

HF Virtual Book Tours Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway: Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

Title: Murder by Misrule
Author: Anna Castle
Format: ARC
Publisher: Self-published
Publish Date: June 8, 2014
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From "Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray's Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon's powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man's legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule."

My Two Cents:

"Murder by Misrule" is the first book in a new historical mystery series that has Francis Bacon as the protagonist and chief mystery solver. Yes, that Francis Bacon as in the famous English statesman and philosopher. This is a wholly original series that got off to a pretty good start!

Taking place in the Elizabethan age, this book has a seriously interesting setting. When the book opens, our hero, Bacon, is trying to gain the favor of the powers that be, namely that of the lovely Queen. Bacon knows he wants to climb that ladder but isn't sure that he really wants to put himself out there. In a lot of ways, he really is a reluctant hero, but really that made it a little more interesting to me that he was not all that interested in making waves. The transition between where he was at the beginning of the book and where he was by the end of the book was really interesting to witness.

Overall the story was pretty good. I loved the setting and I loved how Castle was able to weave a lot of historical figures and details together to really show the reader what Bacon's world might have been like. There were parts of the book that I thought could have been slimmed down a little bit. I also wanted to know more about the ending but it's hard to put down my thoughts on that part without knowing what awaits readers in the subsequent books!

Author Guest Post:

Out of all the philosopher-statesmen in all the books in all the world, why did I choose Francis Bacon to star in my historical mystery series? I wish I had an answer involving mountain tops and strokes of lightning, but the truth is, it was largely a pragmatic decision.

My first novel, which will never be published, was an historical romance set in 1101. I love the twelfth century; it was an exciting time with the kinds of large social transformations that attract my interest. But I wasn't happy with the lack of a vernacular literature and I draw the line at learning dead languages to research my novels. (That's about only line; I love reading history.)

So I started grazing forward, reading overviews and cruising Wikipedia. The 13th century is boring. The 14th century is depressing, what with the plague and all. The 15th century is confusing; too many players. Then I arrived at the sixteenth century and my spider sense started tingling. I don't like the Henrician period, it's too gloomy. Everyone was worried and fearful and for good reason. I like optimistic times, rising tides, expanding horizons. My characters are always climbers: people pursuing destinies, looking for a way to make their mark in the world. I like characters with aspirations.

Lo and behold, the late 16th century -- the Elizabethan period -- had all of those qualities and then some. You want a vernacular literature? Hello, Mr. Shakespeare! You want climbers? How about Sir Walter Raleigh, Francis Bacon, Robert Cecil, and Christopher Marlowe for a start. It was the Age of Aspiration, with everyone chasing an outsized dream. The world was expanding at a pace people found both dizzying and inspiring.

More than anyone, Francis Bacon embodied the transformation from the old world to the new. He stood on the threshold pointing, "The future is this way! Follow me!" Sometimes his foresight seems almost extra-terrestrial, but he took powdered steel for longevity and staunchly believed in the sanctity of monarchy. He didn't invent inductive reasoning, but he advocated it more lucidly than anyone before him. "Look at the facts," he said, over and over. "Gather evidence, analyze it, then draw your conclusions." Novel advice for the time; always good advice for a sleuth. He did some sleuthing, too, as a lawyer and later as a judge. Not the kind in my books, but he spent many hours examining witnesses and evaluating their testimony.

The more I read about Bacon, the more I love him as a character and respect him as a man, in spite of his failings. (He was an infant about money and he was not above a little hypocritical groveling to tease a favor out of a lord.) And the more I read about the Elizabethan period, the more I want to read.

Loving what I read and write is my aspiration.


You can win a paperback copy of "Murder by Misrule" (open US/CAN only)! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Monday, June 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Mari Reads
Tuesday, June 3
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, June 4
Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Thursday, June 5
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den
Friday, June 6
Review at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at A Dream Within a Dream
Saturday, June 7
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Sunday, June 8
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Monday, June 9
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, June 10
Book Blast at West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, June 11
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Thursday, June 12
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Friday, June 13
Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Monday, June 16
Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read
Tuesday, June 17
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Wednesday, June 18
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, June 19
Review at Bibliotica
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession
Friday, June 20
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Saturday, June 21
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Monday, June 23
Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, June 24
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, June 25
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
Thursday, June 26
Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Interview at All Things Girl
Friday, June 27
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, June 30
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, July 1
Interview at Starting Fresh
Wednesday, July 2
Book Blast at Kincavel Korner
Thursday, July 3
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please
Friday, July 4
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
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  1. I enjoy historical mysteries and this looks like a good one.

  2. I enjoyed reading about how the author came to choose Francis Bacon as her protagonist. This sounds like such a great new series.

  3. This historical sounds intriguing and fascinating. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Thanks, everyone! And thank you, Meg, for hosting my book. It's exciting to find readers after all this time.

  5. Thanks for the insightful post. Bacon seems an unusual choice for a main character, but why not? I think he'll be a good one. Thanks.

  6. Interesting thought process, honing in on a time for the setting.

  7. This book is on my TBR list. I cannot wait to read it.

  8. I hear this is an amazing literary achievement, and the plot sounds spellbinding. I am grateful for this feature and the opportunity to win this book!

    I have a personal interest in Bacon's life because his (unfaithful apparently) wife Alice Barnham is a (distant, naturally) relation.

  9. Spies In Elizabethan times make an exciting choice for a novel! Thank you for the giveaway.

  10. Love the author's explanation of how she chose to center her story around Bacon!


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