"An admirable plot is developed on a plausibly human as well as historical basis,lends a conventional love story richly adventurous relief and will not disappoint the author's deservedly large reading public."New York Evening Post, November 3, 1928
The Hounds of God
Disillusioned with the intrigue leading up to the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I, Roger Trevanion, Earl of Garth hides himself in his books and leaves his daughter, Margaret to gain a sense of independence and self-reliance rare in a woman of that era. After she is kidnapped by Don Pedro de Mendoza y Luna, a shipwrecked Spanish captain she had befriended, her would-be fiance Sir Gervase Crosby must fight his way through the English and Spanish Courts and the Inquisition to rescue her before her strength of spirit can run out.
published by The Riverside Press Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin
While I was expecting another rollicking adventure, this book turned into more of an expose on the workings of the Spanish Inquisition and the English and Spanish Courts during the reign of Elizabeth I. "The Hounds of God" was interesting but not what I expected.
The first half starts out promisingly enough with background on Margaret Trevanion and her suitor, Gervase Crosby who wins his knighthood fighting with Sir Walter Raleigh. This part of the story is told without much embellishment and has much less of the narrative style that makes Scaramouche or Captain Blood so gripping.
Sir Gervase, who aids in the defeat of the Armada, is, ironically, partly responsible for the entrance of Don Pedro de Mendoza y Luna, who washes on to the shore near the Trevanions' house after his ship sinks. Don Pedro and Sir Gervase are enemies from the moment they meet and rivalry for Margaret's affections heightens their conflict.
After having spent time in close contact with Margaret Trevanion as her prisoner, Don Pedro finds himself so in love with her that when he is given a chance to be ransomed and returned home, he carries her off with the intention of making her his wife.
On the trip to Spain, Frey Luis a cleric on board the ship, discovers that Margaret is a "heretic" since she was raised in the Lutheran faith. After trying to save both her soul, and Don Pedro's, the Dominican denounces her as a witch as soon as they arrive in Spain. The bulk of the story after this point details Margaret's interaction with the Spanish Inquisitors and Gervase's political maneuverings to rescue her.
The second half is less an adventure novel than it is a political thriller. I liked the characterization of Margaret, even though she seemed less clearly defined than some of Sabatini's other female characters. I also enjoyed the interweaving of Gervase's actions to free her. My main criticism is that I felt the beginning of the novel was weak. If you can stick through it to the point where Gervase meets Don Pedro, I found the remainder a good read.
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