Crown of Fire
Ransom MacKenzie’s life changes forever when he aligns himself with his teacher, the indomitable John Knox, and other Protestant reformers against the Catholic monarchy of Scotland. This inspirational novel’s action and romance make for quick reading, and its examination of the persecution of 16th century Protestants is compelling. Unfortunately, the characters based on real historical persons are flattened into two-dimensionality—Catholic Marie de Guise and Mary, Queen of Scots, are villains; Knox and the Reformers are heroes. The novel attempts to provide explanation and context for Knox’s actions and statements which are now (and, in great part, then) incendiary, such as his First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women; the authors make no such attempts for Marie de Guise. The writing is unsophisticated, and hand-holding is constant. The authors assume the reader knows nothing of the period, so characters regularly spout obviously explanatory statements about events. The plot is also peppered with unnecessary divergences to allow MacKenzie to encounter famous historical persons, such as John Shakespeare, the playwright’s father. Readers of the genre may enjoy this novel, if they can overlook its artificiality.