SPIRALS OF FATE takes readers through a fictionalized account of Kett’s Rebellion, an uprising by farmers and laborers that took place in Edward VI’s short and troubled reign, which started as a local protest against enclosure and snowballed into a vigorous revolt that, for a while, took over the powerful trading city of Norwich.The story is told from multiple points of view, giving a varied and vivid perspective on how and why the rebellion happened.
SPIRALS OF FATE draws the reader back into the socially, economically, and religiously conflicted world of England during the reign of Edward VI, son of Henry VIII. Author Tim Holden does a particularly spectacular job of tracing not only individual and personal growth, but also the inevitable-in-hindsight growth of the rebellion itself, and the inability of either its leaders or the government to keep it controlled and peaceful. Characters leap off the page, full of personality, with understandable human motivations and human feelings, changing and growing as the story goes on, according to the events that push them. In particular, we see Robert Kett grow, believably and organically, from a wealthy and self-interested landowner, a practitioner of enclosure himself, to a reluctant protester hoping to advocate peacefully against enclosure and then go home without violence or trouble, to a leader of the people who is literally willing to die for their cause. Other characters, too, are well-drawn and fully human, and their perspectives add richness and depth to the story, from a young apprentice struggling with marital difficulties and trying to keep his head above water, to a butcher trying to get what he can out of any situation he’s put into, a politician trying to simultaneously protect his city and get himself into a position of power, a merchant’s daughter trying desperately just to survive, and not least, the Duke of Somerset and Earl of Warwick using the rebellion to further their own goals and struggle for power over the young King and the country.
The story itself is energetically and vividly told, and manages to be exciting and suspenseful even to those who already know how it ends–and manages to maintain a hopeful and positive note even to that inevitable ending. The background is present and real without needing to be over-explained or narrated. Everything from the characters’ religious and cultural assumptions to the sights, sounds, and smells of camps and battles feels authentic and natural, true to the times and the context. This is absolutely immersive history, where the reader can get caught up in the story of the rebellion as a real, powerful event that happened to real people, not just a series of dates and names to be remembered. Readers with an interest in history, in political and economic conflict, and in the struggle of poorer folk to be heard in a world run by and for the wealthy and powerful, will find SPIRALS OF FATE a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
SPIRALS OF FATE is an engaging and immersive historical tale that gives us an immediate, human perspective on the social and economic struggles of 16th century England.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader