Read Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue by MargaretLawrence Online


In the spring of 1585, seven English ships sailed around Cape Feare and up the windswept coast of Florida. Their mission: to gain a foothold in the Americas, a gateway to riches, an island fortress against the Spanish. But within ten years, the vibrant new colony had vanished without a trace.… In Hampton Court, Elizabeth is under siege—surrounded by sycophants, spies,In the spring of 1585, seven English ships sailed around Cape Feare and up the windswept coast of Florida. Their mission: to gain a foothold in the Americas, a gateway to riches, an island fortress against the Spanish. But within ten years, the vibrant new colony had vanished without a trace.… In Hampton Court, Elizabeth is under siege—surrounded by sycophants, spies, and assassins who stalk her every move. Among those charged with protecting her is a tall, charismatic spy named Gabriel North…and when the queen’s advisers persuade her to send ships to the Americas, North is given a job for which he is perfectly suited: to seduce Roanoke’s Secota princess and gain information about a fabled treasure hidden in the wilderness.In Princess Naia, North meets a woman who bewitches him utterly—and he soon sees the dangerous deceptions from which his mission was born. As war and calamity crash down on Roanoke Island, Gabriel North becomes a wanted man in a desperate hunt that will lead back across the Atlantic—into a trap set by his enemies, and into a shocking act of treachery that swirls around Elizabeth herself….With the grace of a master storyteller, Margaret Lawrence brings to life a cast of brave hearts and blackguards, petty criminals and grand schemers, who play their roles in a searing drama of conquest, rule, and rebellion....

Title : Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385342377
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 416 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Roanoke: A Novel of Elizabethan Intrigue Reviews

  • Meg Mims
    2019-03-27 02:46

    I've been a reader far longer than a writer, and truly enjoy discovering a wonderful turn of a phrase, or a chilling sentence, a descriptive passage that plants you right there in the setting. One favorite author is Margaret Lawrence. Her historical fiction is stunning at times, gritty with details, gripping in action, and her prose makes me want to quit writing. But I won't--because she inspires me to improve!Here's a sample of her vivid imagery, from her recent novel Roanoke: "The precious cleanness of the beach is real, but it seems to have been created, at most, a few hours before. No stinking fish guts and no rusty anchor chains. Only the bitter-sour-sweet of sea salt, with a strange edge of ripening fruit from somewhere in the dark, mysterious ocean of trees to the west. Only the colors that paint the air and wash the flat beach, blending sea, land and sky. Apricot, rose, pale amethyst, topaz, silver. And gold."Another phrase that made me sit up: "Time drips like Spanish moss from the swamp oaks."Many people hate books like Roanoke, with its multiple POV's, jumps from past to present to future tense, and the blending of real people with fictional characters. I know how I would have fallen short in that descriptive passage, using "forest" instead of "ocean of trees," "scent" instead of "strange edge of ripening fruit" and I would have never thought to write "precious cleanness" or "paint the air and wash the flat beach" either. You have to read the book to catch the theme imbedded in the list of colors. The last one is key, and she rightly sets it apart: "And gold."AMAZING prose. Astonishing. Her sense of foreshadowing is also masterful.These are the books you cannot put down. The surrounding world vanishes. Caught in the weaver's gossamer net, you beg not for release but for another gentle sting that lifts you into that dream realm.I totally recommend this book.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-13 02:41

    Historically speaking, no one really knows what happened to the 16th century settlement at Roanoke. All of the villagers disappeared, and the word "Croatoan" was carved into a nearby tree.Margaret Lawrence uses that incident as a stopping-off place, inspired by the fact that one of the women on the settlement transportation manifest bore her name. She creates a world peopled by Walsingham's spies, filled with court intrigue featuring Walter Ralegh, Robert Cecil and more.The book is splendidly researched, told alternately in the voices of Gabriel North and Robert Mowbray (two of Walsingham's men). History buffs are sure to enjoy this concept of "what happened here."

  • Yaaresse
    2019-04-04 03:36

    Someone can do tons of research and have all the historical details in the world. Without engaging characters and a cohesive story arc, it still won't work.

  • Jean
    2019-04-11 01:56

    Interesting read if you know the history. Otherwise it might be confusing. I had never considered the fact that some of the colonists may have managed passage back to England eventually. Many theories are out there about what happened to the "Lost Colony". Of course, this is historical FICTION, but what was suggested seemed at least plausible. There was also discussion of many of the intrigues in the Elizabethan court and the pilot, Simon Fernandes, has always been considered a "bad guy" but was he under the influence of the Elizabethan court or the Spanish? Many questions emerged from the reading even thought many of the characters were fictional!

  • Ingrid Rose
    2019-04-26 06:52

    Truth or Fiction?Since no one knows what happened to the Roanoke colony, it is rife for possibilities. This story, while fiction, is well researched, and let my mind wander into the realm of "it's possible". Everything about it, characters, plot, EVERYTHING, is either real or so well based on real as to be seamlessly woven into reality, that the book seems to be a true account. This is a must if you are into historical fiction!

  • Sarah Faulkner
    2019-04-16 00:44

    I’m abandoning (40% through) because I just can’t take any more. There is no cohesive narrative or character development. At this point, I still know absolutely nothing about the narrator/protagonist. The author clearly did the historical research, but forgot about the fiction part. Just describes one set of horrors after another—atrocities against the native population, disease, starvation, torture, treachery—without anything to make it into an actual novel.

  • Thomas Ryan
    2019-04-11 06:44

    Terrific historical mystery about one of the great mysteries of the early Americans!

  • Carey
    2019-04-02 03:34

    "Gold is more than greed. It is magic, perhaps the last magic. Alchemists summon it from stone, from scarabs, from bats' wings and the blood of black cats. It is an acid that eats away the will to create and to make instead of to acquire and command and conquer.....Gold is the greatest weapon of mass destruction ever discovered."When Queen Elizabeth I was in her fifties and had held the throne of England for over twenty five years, her country was a vast web of spies. The Queen was past the age of childbirth and all pretense of a political marriage was fading away. Plots against her life were thick on the ground and war with Spain was imminent. And the Queen needed what monarchs of that age were always short of...MONEY. So, an expedition to the New World is undertaken to harvest the gold and wealth rumored to be found there.The Queen's advisor, William Cecil, is not the only spymaster in England but he is by far the greatest. Dubbed "The Spider," his huge spy network has protected the Queen from the hundreds of attempts on her life that have been made over the years from various quarters. Two spies, Robert Mowbray and Gabriel North were in the right place at the right time to thwart one such attack. As a result, they are selected to accompany the expedition and to take part in the colonization of Roanoke. Gabriel is assigned the task of doing whatever is necessary to coax the treasure out of the beautiful Princess of the native Indians, Naia, and bring it back to fill England's coffers. The fact that there is no gold on Roanoke means little to the leaders of the expedition. They are convinced that the gold is being hidden from them and are ruthless in their pursuit of their goal. It soon becomes clear that the colonists have been dropped on Roanoke completely unprepared and woefully under supplied for life in America. Though part of the spy network, Robert and Gabriel have no idea of the extent to which their own lives and the lives of the colonists have been used in a political game of cat and mouse. The novelist's answer to the old mystery of what happened to the vanished English colony on Roanoke Island is skilfully woven into this fascinating story. I would recommend Roanoke to anyone who likes historical fiction or mysteries. Margaret Lawrence has a lovely, lyrical way of structuring sentences that I find particularly unique and enjoyable to read:"There are fragments of living that slip beyond time and lodge themselves permanently in the present, that bring you suddenly out of hiding and drench you with a precious mortality."

  • Rosina Lippi
    2019-04-13 01:47

    I waited a long time for Margaret Lawrence to come out with a new historical.  Her earlier series set in post-revolutionary Maine  (beginning with Hearts and Bones and ending with The Ice Weaver) are books I still return to. Strong, engaging female characters are at the heart of the Hannah Trevor novels, and the story is told in many voices, by means of court testimony, witness statements, Hannah's notes and writings, and the narrator. So I wanted to love Roanoke, but I had some problems with it.By no means do I expect an author to always write the same book, and in theory I had no problem with the idea that this novel was set in an earlier period (the Elizabethan) and had men as its central characters.  But there's something out of balance. The plot swings back and forth between England and the new colony of Roanoke, which establishes a choppy rhythm that might have worked better if the narrator hadn't been one step removed from the main character, Gabriel North.

  • Diane
    2019-04-01 00:53

    This historical novel/mystery is set in Elizabethan England in the events surrounding the founding of the lost colony of Roanoke. The author turns the colony's fate into a mystery/political thriller, and interweaves its story with political developments in England during the time of the Spanish armada. This is an intriguing premise, and the author does write some well-turned prose. However, the book is littered with dialogue that seems far too modern for the time period. Furthermore, the narrator is a step removed from the main character, which adds to confusion in the text, and the fact that the plot moves back and forth between England and the Americas further confuses the prose. The book has too many characters, none of which are well developed, and most are not very sympathetic. This led me to find the book disappointing overall, although with some positive elements.

  • Liz
    2019-04-20 04:46

    Ok, I finished it. This is a book written from a male perspective, about another mans experience...once I wrapped my brain around was just weird. Ok, it bases itself around the colony Roanoke, how it came to be and then just vanished and all that. This is a possible of what could have happened. The ending is a bit outlandish, so are some of the events towards the's broken into three sections, I was there until section three basically. Up until then, it was a good mystery, interesting things went on and all that. It built up all that momentum and just sputtered out and died at the end. If you don't mind being let down at the end, go for it, otherwise...don't bother. Apparently she decided to write this book because someone on the passenger list for the second voyage had the same name...seriously? That's not a very good reason...

  • Evie
    2019-03-31 23:53

    I became so lost in the world of Lawrence's other series, beginning with Hearts and Bones and ending with the magnificent Ice Weaver, that I couldn't wait to start this book! Finally, the talented weaver of words, Margaret Lawrence had written a new book...although I am still waiting for a new book in the Hearts and Bones series, one to follow Ice Weaver. Much as I am enjoying Roanoke, I don't encounter as much "soul" as in her other books.Now that I am finished with this book, I do have to say that Margaret Lawrence's storyline of what happened to the Roanoke colony is so plausible that I wasn't able to put the book down! Her characters were so interesting that I don't find myself bothered at her "author's liberties" and I would be delighted if she wrote a sequel so I could find out what happened as her characters continued their lives.

  • Elisabeth
    2019-03-28 05:37

    I came across this book in my local library, unaware of it or the authors' existence. It turned out to be fun. At first it seemed to be a bit choppy to read, but I did get into the rhythm and enjoy myself. This is Margaret Lawrence's version of what happened to the infamous lost colony of Roanoke Virginia. I have to say it's a bit far fetched for me to even consider as a possiblity, but it was quite interesting.There really isn't a great deal of character development or any explanation of their true role in history, as the author seemed to assume anyone reading this novel will already be familiar with all the major players in Elizabeth I's government. For those who DO know them it's a fun book. To anyone else it won't matter! It might spark a futher interest in this remarkable woman's reign.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-22 00:59

    The idea of what happened on Roanoke five hundred years ago has not really been explored in fiction, and Lawrence's book does an admirable job. The underlying reason is more political and more devious than what may have really occurred, but it is definitely plausible (and make you think...) The descriptions of early America and the early Americans are well-done; sometimes it's difficult to imagine just how untouched the environment was before the European invasion. Also, I appreciate the down-and-dirty details of life in the Elizabethan Era: the struggles of the lower classes and the intrigue of Elizabeth's court. Overall, a good blend of history, fabrication, and compelling story/characters.

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-11 00:44

    I'm probably biased because I adore Margaret Lawrence's books. Her mysteries are tightly woven and her characters are compelling. This is a completely different story from Lawrence's previous series -- so different that there really is no way to compare this to her other novels other than in how well she weaves, mystery, history, folklore, sense of place, character, and an unlikely romance into this account of the Roanoke settlement. This is storytelling at its best and had me going back to re-read information on Roanoke to see what else I'd missed!

  • Bronwyn
    2019-04-27 07:53

    Lawrence manages to take the known threads of a fascinating historical anomaly and weave it into a dull, lifeless yarn replete with wooden dialogue, confusing sub-plots and characters of little personality or importance. There is no question in establishing Lawrence's capability as an author: she writes beautifully, often with an extreme amount of detail to costume or character or setting. Unfortunately, she seems to rely too much on these facets of her writing process rather than setting up the intrigue and detail necessary to carry out such an ambitious plotline.

  • Jerilyn
    2019-03-31 01:49

    This had all the usual potential to be a book I would love, but it fell flat. Not sure how much is due to sporadic reading time and interruptions and how much to lack of plot and character development in the writing. Somewhat corny and predictable. Intrigue and polotics at court on one side of the ocean; colonists with competing priorities facing the unknown with insufficient resources and little grounding in reality meet up with politics and intrigue among the natives on the other side of the ocean. This should have been a great book. Maybe I was just too distracted to appreciate it.

  • Sarah
    2019-04-10 04:57

    I'll read any novel about Queen Elizabeth. Heck, my facebook quiz even said I'm her in a previous life! lol. This adult novel follows Gabriel, a spy from the Elizabethan age as he and a coworker travel to and from Roanoke, Virginia to spy for the queen. She plays a minor character in the novel. It focuses on Gabriel and his role in some political and economical turmoil that always follows a royal court. If you're a historical fiction fan, read it.

  • Denise
    2019-04-03 04:34

    A tale of greed, politics and indifference. Good historical basis for what may have happened to the lost colony of Roanoke. None of the settlers were ever found alive but for years afterward there were tales of lighter-skinned people living among the Indian tribes up and down the coast of the future America. I felt this book was choppy and not as well-written as her other books. And the plot seemed to "ramble" as well.

  • Stephanie Gerson
    2019-04-15 02:53

    Such a great historical novel. The pages transport back in time to 16th century England and Native America. The characters are whole and believable, real and easy to identify with. This version of what happened to Roanoke is one of conspiracy, which isn't too outlandish. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in Roanoke, or 16th century England.

  • Liz
    2019-04-03 04:45

    Blech. Read this book because we visited Roanoke as part of our summer vacation. Really enjoyed the vacation. Did not enjoy the book. The story of the lost colony of Roanoke, NC is intriguing and shrouded in mystery. This should have been a great book. But the writing wasn't great. And the story wasn't engaging. Pass.

  • Sue
    2019-04-14 05:56

    Between the multiple character viewpoints and the switching of present and past tenses, this book was very confusing. It had numerous anachronisms too, like honey before the honey bee made it to the Americas and "feminist." The only reason I finished the book is because I love the subject matter.

  • Angelique
    2019-04-22 06:40

    This was the first book I read by this author. A very interesting historical author during the Elizabethan period but taking place in the "new world" carolinas. Excellent character development and surprising turns in every chapter.

  • Serena
    2019-04-22 00:35

    I am fascinated by the story of Roanoke, but have yet to find a really good book, fiction or non-fiction.

  • KarenFiandaca
    2019-04-23 05:52

    Too much elizabethan intrigue and confusing characters but the part about Roanoke I enjoyed very much.

  • Ethel Doucette
    2019-04-15 04:38

    A different twist on the Lost Colony. Not one of my favorite books. The characters seemed to all run together after a while.

  • Megan Wilkinson
    2019-04-03 01:52

    I chose to read this book for an assignment for my editing minor, thinking it looked interesting. I only have one word to describe it: Craptastic.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-13 07:54

    Advanced reader copy. Not too bad. I found myself wanting to hurry up and get to the end the last 100 pages. Time to get back to pnr!

  • Vanessa
    2019-04-01 01:53

    WOW! This was one of the best books I've read in a long time! The kind where you don't want to put the book down yet you also don't want it to end. Better review to come later...

  • Melanie
    2019-04-22 00:57

    Intriguing story--unique writing style made book hard to follow at times