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The King at the Edge of the World Summary and Reviews

The King at the Edge of the World

by Arthur Phillips

The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips X
The King at the Edge of the World by Arthur Phillips
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2020
    288 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

Queen Elizabeth's spymasters recruit an unlikely agent - the only Muslim in England - for an impossible mission in a mesmerizing novel from "one of the best writers in America" (The Washington Post).

The year is 1601. Queen Elizabeth I is dying, childless. Her nervous kingdom has no heir. It is a capital crime even to think that Elizabeth will ever die. Potential successors secretly maneuver to be in position when the inevitable occurs. The leading candidate is King James VI of Scotland, but there is a problem.
 
The queen's spymasters—hardened veterans of a long war on terror and religious extremism—fear that James is not what he appears. He has every reason to claim to be a Protestant, but if he secretly shares his family's Catholicism, then forty years of religious war will have been for nothing, and a bloodbath will ensue. With time running out, London confronts a seemingly impossible question: What does James truly believe?

It falls to Geoffrey Belloc, a secret warrior from the hottest days of England's religious battles, to devise a test to discover the true nature of King James's soul. Belloc enlists Mahmoud Ezzedine, a Muslim physician left behind by the last diplomatic visit from the Ottoman Empire, as his undercover agent. The perfect man for the job, Ezzedine is the ultimate outsider, stranded on this cold, wet, and primitive island. He will do almost anything to return home to his wife and son.
 
Arthur Phillips returns with a unique and thrilling novel that will leave readers questioning the nature of truth at every turn.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Phillips' incorporation of history—including an entertaining side plot about Elizabethan theater—shows the sure hand and psychological acuity he is known for...A rare combination of literary finesse and quick-paced plot—and another triumph from the versatile Phillips." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The indefatigably imaginative Phillips...offers historical fiction with aching contemporary overtones. Highly recommended, especially for those knowledgeable about the period and for anyone who enjoys a truly original yarn." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Phillips masterfully renders the period and packs the narrative with surprising twists. This clever, serpentine novel recalls the historical dramas of Hilary Mantel and the thrillers of John le Carré, and will reverberate in readers' minds." - Publishers Weekly

"Arthur Phillips fans will recognize—and new readers will thrill to—the immersive mix of erudition, brio, and heart in The King at the Edge of the World. Phillips is an original—and in top form." - Jennifer Egan

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Author Information

Arthur Phillips Author Biography

Arthur Phillips was born in Minneapolis and educated at Harvard. He has been a child actor, a jazz musician, a speechwriter, a dismally failed entrepreneur, and a five-time Jeopardy! champion.

His first novel, Prague, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and received the Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His second novel, The Egyptologist, was an international bestseller, and was on more than a dozen "Best of 2004" lists. Angelica, his third novel, made the Washington Post best fiction of 2007 and led that paper to call him "One of the best writers in America." The Song Is You was a New York Times Notable Book, on the Post's best of 2009 list, and inspired Kirkus to write, "Phillips still looks like the best American novelist to have emerged in the present...

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