The Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester

The Roots of Betrayal by James Forrester

Roots of Betrayal


1564, and Clarenceux has been entrusted to protect a dangerous document, containing a secret so powerful that it could challenge Queen Elizabeth’s legitimacy on the throne.

When the document goes missing, Clarenceux suspects an underground society known as the Knights of the Round Table. With England on the verge of a bloody conflict, Clarenceux’s determination to protect the Queen (and his own life) takes him from the dungeons in the Tower of London to the high seas (with a roguish captain inspired by the real Elizabethan adventurer Peter Carew).

With Forrester’s mix of vibrant history and edge-of-your seat plot twists, Clarenceux discovers a shocking conspiracy, and is forced to confront personal questions of loyalty and love, faith and fear.


James Forrester is the pen name of acclaimed British historian Ian Mortimer, author of nonfiction works including The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (aSunday Times bestseller) and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. As Forrester, he is the author of Sacred Treason (Sourcebooks, October 2012), the first novel in the Clarenceaux trilogy. The last installment, The Final Sacrament, will be published in the US in September 2013. Website: Twitter: @IanJamesFM


I enjoyed reading the first book in this series, Sacred Treason (will post review soon), so I was looking forward to reading this second installment in the trilogy. At the start, I was a bit confused on the introductory chapter about pirates. Having prior knowledge of the plot from the first book, I was a bit thrown off by the pirates. It was interesting, mind you, but I just still was not getting how it will tie in to the plot.

The first half of this book with the background chapters on the pirates and all the running around that Clarenceaux was doing was a little cumbersome for me to wade though. I wanted to get to the meat of the plot already! I realize much later in the book how these introductory and background chapters came into play, but I wanted to be embroiled in the story right away like I was in the first book.

It wasn’t until halfway through the book, during the battleship scene that my radar finally perked up and it was on! This was a bit different from the first book what with the swashbuckling pirates and their colorful cohorts in the mix, but it was finally getting to be fun and very interesting.

I think the vision I had of Clarenceaux from the first book changed a little in this second one. He became just a little more dashing in my mind’s eye. Perhaps it was influenced by the rogue Raw Carew, the pirate, who I think rather stole the show in this book. Reading some of the other reader’s reviews, I think I am not alone in being smitten by this pirate with morals. I would read a whole book about him and I am not even all that into pirate stories!

Anyway, back to the Betrayal… Just like in the first book, readers are in for a good surprise as the twists and turns of this novel are unraveled towards the end. It was certainly worth the wait after all! I must admit, I went back to a couple of earlier chapters that I had skimmed through trying to get to the meat of the story. Overall, Roots of Betrayal did not disappoint in keeping up the mystery and intrigue within the story.

As it ended, I think it could stand on its own and if you never read the third installment you probably won’t feel too much like you’ve missed out. However, there are just enough loose ends left that will pique your curiosity if you’re a busy body like me.

I hope Nicole at Sourcebooks will consider sending me a review copy of the third edition also because I would love to see how James Forrester wraps up this trilogy. Based on the first two so far, I have a feeling we’re in for a doozy of a surprise.


This review is part of a virtual book tour for The Roots of Betrayal. If you would like to read what others thought of this book, check out the following blogs:

Passages to the Past

Devourer of Books

Confessions of an Avid Reader

Radiant Light

Historical Boys

Bags Books and Bon Jovi

The Girdle of Melian

Psychotic State Book Reviews

The Book Reading Gals

Reading Reality

Broken Teepee

Booksie’s Blog

Found Not Lost

Turning the Pages

Tanzanite’s Castle Full of Books

DISCLOSURE: I received a review copy of this book from SourcebooksNo other compensation was received and opinions regarding this book are all mine

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