Book Review: Fawkes

SK - Gunpowder plot quote

Fawkes:  A Novel by Nadine Brandes

Due to peer pressure and fomo on Instagram, #bookstagram influenced me to read this book. And I’m NOT sorry.

I originally digitally checked this out from the library, spent my time on the wait list, enjoyed my time with it, forgot about it, had it automatically returned, considered waiting the 4+ weeks to re-borrow it, couldn’t stop thinking about it (this time), so purchased a copy for myself. This is a great marketing campaign if any publishers want to talk to me – this has happened 3 more times recently.



Fawkes: A Novel by Nadine Brandes

Amazon Description:

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.
Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th-century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.
But what if death finds him first?
Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot–claiming it will put an end to the plague–Thomas is in.
The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.
The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Book Review

I love a good historical fiction. That’s exactly what this book is. A well-done, well-written, well-researched work based on actual events in history.

The benefit of writing fiction set in history is that the author doesn’t have to spend excessive time world-building. Nadine did a great job transporting the reader to 17th century England without bogging the story down in too much explanation of the type of wood used to build the wagon or the precise stones used to construct a bridge. She was able to focus on her characters, their adventures, and bringing a fantastical plague to life.

Admittedly, during the first third of the book I found myself a couple of times wondering if I should continue. I found the main character, Thomas, whiny and immature. I questioned if I really cared about his story. The growth this young man goes through and the changes that take place in his life truly shows the remarkable talent of the author. She absolutely knew what she was doing. Starting off with a character who was weak, bringing him (and us) along through dangers and excitement, to the end where we are cheering for him, weeping with him, and wishing history could be changed.

Bravo, Ms. Brandes!


Would I Recommend?


I will definitely be rereading this book, so I am very glad I ended up owning my own copy.



I know the author has another book coming out in early 2019 (I have pre-ordered a copy) and I look forward to following along as she takes us on another adventure

Categories: Books

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