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Summary

From the author of the successful Thomas the Falconer mysteries comes a new historical series featuring Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck....

1600: A new century dawns. War with Spain has dragged on for 15 years, the conflict in Ireland for six. Unease stalks England in the dying years of Elizabeth I’s reign, and Elizabethan intelligencer Martin Marbeck is bored.

Then a message from his spymaster, Sir Robert Cecil, arrives: the existence of a spy has been discovered, code-named Morera, and Marbeck must uncover the true identity of this traitor quickly, before rumours of the young King Philip III forming a new Armada prove themselves to be true.

©2012 John Pilkington (P)2014 Audible Studios

What listeners say about Marbeck and the Double-Dealer

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Thin gruel

I listened to this because it was free. Our supercilious hero travels widely in pursuit of a double agent and gets into some scrapes, but there's very little narrative tension or anything resembling real drama or evocative historical atmosphere. The language is flat, with cod Elizabethan dialogue, and there's no sense of these people being from a different era – they simply talk a little oddly, the baddies with comedic French or Spanish accents. Some of it wouldn't be out of place in an episode of Blackadder – including one ridiculous scene where a male actor in drag ineffectually tries to pass himself off as a saucy wench to fool a foreign spy. The protagonist remains a self-important enigma.

9 people found this helpful

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Good read

Enjoyed this book, well paced with a good feel for the intrigues of Elizabethan England. Excellent narration.

2 people found this helpful

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Narrator

Phillip Franks is a fantastic narrator, he just be the bench mark for all who narrate - he is perfect!

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Good story

I enjoyed this story and look forward to the next instalment. a good story

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Good listen

A good spy story with excellent narration, thoughly enjoyed this book ,would recommend it !

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More please

Really liked it. Better than Rory Clements which I couldn't finish. Any more Marbeck novels?

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Dubious Spy

Excellent narration lifted the story. Marbeck is a disaster of a spy, his guesses are wrong, his plans go awry and his compassion get him into trouble. However, this adds to his humanity in the fledgling service that wil eventually become MI5 and MI6.

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Good plot

A plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing. I had to listen to Phillip Franks’s performance at 0.9 speed as he has a very fast pace. It improved the rendition greatly. A few problems with factual matters in the text though. The writer’s knowledge of horses and English style riding seems minimal, with long arduous journeys being undertaken bareback in silly amounts of time. A bridle becomes a harness, and reins are shook to make horses drive forward. At times the dialogue and descriptions are a bit laboured but overall, as long as you don’t want literary historical fiction, this is a satisfactory read.

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Bond 0007

Enjoyable Elizabethan spy drama with believable charicatures, well told and expressed with feeling. Must explore more in the series.

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  • Robert White
  • 31-01-21

Pleasantly Surprised

Another Waiting-On-A-Credit gem. Think James Bond in 1600. Well done. I'll read the rest of the series, definitely.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mike007
  • 06-01-21

A Gripping, well researched Elizabethan spy saga

I really enjoyed this book. Pilkington sets the scenes so well, full of detail. The story is fast paced. Well worth a read.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Christina Frascona
  • 28-11-20

Entertaining

Philip Franks reads well. The characters come to life in vivid images. Fun and suspenseful story.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-04-21

No warmth but well done

A competent and even entertaining story. My problem was in liking any of the characters. It’s hard to warm up to those who deal in torture. The main character observes and shows some sympathy, but in the end he is a willing tool of a morally corrupt system. Of course, that is probably what the author sought: a condemnation (a la Le Carre) of both sides in such struggles--especially the protagonist's. It's just not that much fun in what is basically escapist literature.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sharon K Carrell
  • 31-05-21

Tudor spies

judging from the amount of literature about these spies, the Tudors would have put bonds am I six to shame. I highly recommend this book on all accounts. however, this is the only one I find in audio so, unfortunately, the others must be read. I regret my inability to do so but suggest you search them out if you are able to read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BG
  • 27-03-21

enjoyed this book

I really enjoyed and was entertained by this book. It was what I was looking for to escape some rather difficult reading and to escape Covid confinement. Historical fiction is my favorite, and of this time period. Narrator was great. I am looking forward to seeing more from this author. Hopefully Audible will offer John Pilkington's series and in succession not just random books in the different series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • R&K
  • 30-08-21

An Elizabethan spy thriller

My first experience with this author’s work. A rather engrossing tale of espionage. Thankfully, it is without gratuitous language or scenes. Keeps to its business, and narrated well. I urge Audible to procure more in the series.

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  • M.Garman
  • 04-07-21

Elizabethan slice of life spy mystery

Good story, well crafted with Elizabethan period in the background. Always a pleasure to listen to a good story. Politics and intrigue are as much as part of the period as they are today. Just different harsher rules. The right and wrong of it must be deduced and is interesting but the main reason to listen is it is simply a good story, I detected none of the tech difficulties mentioned in other reviews.

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  • R. Solomon
  • 28-04-21

The sibilance is virtually unbearable.

I had to turn down the treble all the way, on my truck stereo, to finish this book. Extremely harsh 's' sounds throughout the book. Mixing and mastering the sound of this book was non-existent. Fantastic narrative. Horrible sounds design.

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  • TINA R
  • 23-03-21

Marbeck and the Double-Dealer

What an entertaining story. I loved it .
Philip Franks is a master. I could see Gifford clearly with his voice.
More please. I listening at work.