3 out of 4 stars
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The Royal Secret, written by John Bentley, is a historical novel that speaks on issues such as conspiracy and concealment that has plagued social and political arenas since the beginning of time. As we are introduced to characters such as Queen Elizabeth and Francis Bacon, the concept of this is made clear. Scandals linked to Religion, sex, family, and social status are all intermingled parts of the web of life, through which each character attempts to navigate. However, it is how these threads are tied that leads to a plot that is very conflicting and relatable.
For me, learning about the many historical figures and gaining much insight into their personal lives was intriguing. What was slightly off-putting, however, was the writer's attempt to synchronize the fictional aspects with such an abundance of historical facts. Subsequently, this book required a great deal of arduous reading.
Nevertheless, characters such as those mentioned above did capture my attention. The secrecy of their endeavors leading to their eventual opprobrium and the chief question of the narrative, "Who is the real author behind works credited to William Shakespeare?" has motivated me to take an esoteric look into that which is taught to us today. Even the metaphysical aspect of it all, the inclusion of different religious bodies, showcasing how they are linked to power, wealth, and social status and the extent they are willing to go to conceal the truth from the masses, is one that I have taken quite seriously.
The priest and member of the Masonic order, Ethan, presented as the demonic figure, is one such example of this. He, claiming to be a mischievous spirit that preys on human weakness such as greed, the ideal leads to their corruption, stands as a defender of the secrets of immortality. As he attempts to hinder Mrs. G on her journey to find such secrets, we are made aware of the gravity of such matters and the implications that come with it. By having Ethan as a character, Bentley shows how the lines of human decency and moral values are blurred and leaves much to be desired in the way of integrity.
There is some sexually explicit content that was noted along with religious statements that may not be suitable for some audiences. Therefore, I advise that anyone attempting to read this book be an open mind. I did not notice any grammatical errors or use of profane language and, therefore, rate this book as earning 3 out of 4 stars.
The Royal Secret
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