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The Real Guy Fawkes (ePub)

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 17th Century P&S History > Royal History P&S History > Social History P&S History > True Crime World History > UK & Ireland > England > London World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By Nick Holland
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Series: The Real...
File Size: 21.8 MB (.epub)
Pages: 230
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526705105
Published: 9th October 2017


£4.99 Print price £19.99

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As featured by the Yorkshire Post: Freedom fighter or terrorist? Who was the real Guy Fawkes?

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Guy Fawkes, born in York in 1570, is one of the key figures in British history, taking a central role in a plot that would have destroyed the ruling class and changed the nation forever. Today protesters wear his mask, families burn his effigy, and he is an instantly recognisable name and face. But just who was the real Guy Fawkes? In this new book, we take an exciting look at the flesh and blood person behind the myth. We find out what radicalised the man who was born a Protestant, and yet planned mass murder for the Catholic cause. The book takes a fresh look at Guy's early life in York and beyond, and examines how that led to him becoming a Catholic mercenary and a key member of the 1605 Gunpowder treason.

This fresh new biography of Guy's life removes the layers of complexity that can cloud the British history of this time: an era when fearful Catholics hid in tiny priest holes, government spies were everywhere, and even your closest friends could send you to be hung, drawn and quartered. Guy and his conspirators were prepared to risk everything and endanger everyone, but were they fanatics, freedom fighters, or fools? This explosive read, accompanied with beautiful illustrations, is accessible and engaging, combining contemporary accounts with modern analysis to reveal new motivations behind Guy's actions.

Author article 'Westminster's ultimate nemesis' as featured by

The New European, 31st October 2019

As referenced in The pastoral challenge of the 'gig economy' article

Catholic Herald, 8th November 2019

Everyone in Britain has heard of Guy Fawkes, but don’t really know anything about him. It’s assumed he’s either the ringleader or was a minor part in the plot. Holland makes the case that he was Robert Catesby’s third in command, a trusted soldier, long-time friend of several other conspirators – especially the Wright brothers with whom he went to school as a boy in York – and a militantly committed Catholic convert.

This book is an excellent place to start if you want to understand what happened.

Read the full review here

Rosie Writes... Blog

I enjoyed the biography of The Real Guy Fawkes, though it happened in 1605 the reader gets to know Guy from growing up and learning why he did and why he felt the way he did. I believe Nick Holland did an excellent job telling the Guys side of the story.

Read the full review here

Oh My Bookness, Brittany Perez

Nick Holland has done a fantastic job researching Guy Fawkes and all aspects of his brief life.

Now, I realize that, "The Real Guy Fawkes" by Nick Holland is not nineteenth-century or Victorian era related. However, it is a newer release and a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I don't think anyone will be surprised when I say that I know practically next to nothing about the man they called Guy Fawkes except he is celebrated one day out of the year in the United Kingdom and he was involved in the gunpowder plot. Other than that, I'm lost until I read this book.

Author, Nick Holland through extensive research has managed to flesh out from the ashes a real life perspective on the man behind much of the myth. Guy Fawkes rises like a phoenix and develops fully formed within these 240 pages.

Read the full review here

Kimberley Eve, Victorian Musings Blog

Although the majority of the book focuses on Guy Fawkes, from his birth to his gruesome end, Holland does take time to describe the other plotters and ably details the timeline of the events, people, and places associated with the gunpowder plot.

I thoroughly recommend it.

Read the complete review here.

The Seventeenth Century Lady, Andrea Zuvich

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book is exciting, informative, and really gives readers a good feel for who the real Guy Fawkes was.

NetGalley, reviewed by Andrea Zuvich

This book is a vivid and unique telling of a remarkable time in our history, with an insightful account of the multi-layered man at its centre.

Click here to read the full review.

On: Yorkshire magazine - reviewd by Sandra Callard

Guy and his ability as a linguist and an accomplished soldier is discussed as well as his orchestration of the legendary plot. Obviously, he was not alone in this and everyone else is also discussed. The backdrop for Guy is the main focus here. All the players and political maneuvers that moves Guy to his final path. Also, the introduction of gunpowder and its impression on James I, who would be in power when the plot to blow parliament up would be in place. All of this is brought together seamlessly. Even if the show is bad, I’m glad I read the book. Excellent!

Read the complete review here.

Michelle McMenamin, GoodReads

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is hands down, the best Fawkes book that I've seen. Most of the books that I've seen that relate to this subject only seem to find the portion of his life that deals with the gunpowder plot to be worth mentioning, but this book delves much further into his life. I liked the way the author approached Guy's story, allowing the reader to feel like they get to know him from his early life forward.

NetGalley, reviewed by Ionia Froment

I'm a historian by training and by interest, and I thought I knew the story of the Gunpowder Plot and the shadowy figures behind the attempt to kill King James and put a Catholic ruler in his place. But this exceptionally readable book illuminated the story of the Gunpowder Plot for me in a way that no other book has.

I was gripped by the narrative, to the point that I found myself secretly hoping against hope that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators might somehow bring their absurdly impossible plot to a successful conclusion, as if history could be rewritten like a good detective story.

The author does an outstanding job of examining Guy Fawkes' life, from his birth in York and his early education to the links his family developed with leading Catholic families after his father's death. He shows how Fawkes was deeply affected by the capture and execution of Catholic martyr Margaret Clitherow, whose family were known to Fawkes and his parents.

Read the complete review here.

Britain Express, David Ross

I enjoyed this book it was well written and a joy to read. The author gives insight to the subject matter that I felt was compelling and would recommend this book to a friend.

NetGalley, reviewed by Dale Dewitt

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Having just watched and enjoyed the TV show Gunpowder, this book was a big interest to me.

Born in York in 1570 Guy Fawkes is a figure I have always wondered why we celebrate him in the way we do.

This is a heavily researched book and the author digs deep to find the answers to many questions and facts.

It is worthy of anyones shelf and should be read by all, I am sure it will amaze and delight the history buffs.

NetGalley, reviewed by Tracy Shephard

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A very detailed book and I can say that the author has done extensive historical research on the subject. It's not long as much as other history books and is comparable to a novel for the smoothness of the text - which makes it accessible to most readers. Often what we know about the Gunpowder Plot and its conspirators is limited to some movie or television quotes (V for Vendetta, Gunpowder). Thanks to this volume, the reader is able to gain a deep understanding of the problems that have led to Plot, as well as to the Plot itself. Definitely recommended.

NetGalley, reviewed by Alessandro Mana

What drove Fawkes to such fury? That is the question Holland seeks to answer. His is a very thorough biography on Fawkes analogous to the sleuthing done by Robert Cecil, the royal administrator whose spy network stopped Fawkes. As a biographer, Holland—also known for a book on Anne Brontë—is firmly in the camp of those who see the times as shaping individuals, not vice versa. Although he spends time discussing Fawkes' childhood and formative experiences, he makes it quite clear that in an earlier age Fawkes would have lived a comfortable life unmarked by controversy.

NetGalley, reviewed by Robert E. Weir

As featured in

Yorkshire Post

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A timely book given that Bonfire Night is soon upon us!

NetGalley, reviewed by Eileen Hall, October 2017

This book is short, only 230 pages, and could easily have added another 100 without becoming boring. I doubt it would become dry either as Nick Holland has a wonderful writing style – easy to read and personable. I felt he knew his subject and cared for him. It’s the first book I’ve read by the author but I’d happily read more and, I think, for anyone who wants an introduction to the events leading up to November 5th, 1605, this is a brilliant place to start. Liked this a lot!

NetGalley, reviewed by Emma Littlefield

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

All I knew about Guy Fawkes before reading this book is that he tried to blow up the Parliament and failed. The end.

The book is very detailed and you can tell Holland has done extensive research on the topic. Yet it isn't overly long like some history books can be. It reads well, almost like a novel at times, so it is accessible to most readers. At the end, the reader is left with a deep understanding of the issues that led to the plot, as well as the plot itself. Definitely recommended!

NetGalley, reviewed by Camille Brown

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The book gives an excellent background on the conflicts between the Catholics and the Protestants in England. One does not need to be an expert in English history to understand this book.

Furthermore, the story of the Gunpowder Plot itself reads like a thriller. It is very faced past, full of plots and intrigue..

In summation, if one wants to read a very entertaining book about a piece of history that is like an action movie but still has relevance for today, one could not do better than this book.

NetGalley, reviewed by Celia Moses

About Nick Holland

Nick Holland was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire in 1971. He is a best selling fiction writer, who has now become a successful non-fiction author. His recent biography of Anne Brontë was critically acclaimed, with the Mail On Sunday calling it 'an excellent book full of passion and pathos'. Nick has long been fascinated by the story of his fellow Yorkshire Catholic Guy Fawkes, and this new biography allows him to reveal the man behind the myth.

Born on this day - Guy Fawkes

13th April 1570

Guy Fawkes, born in York in 1570, is one of the key figures in British history, taking a central role in a plot that would have destroyed the ruling class and changed the nation forever.

View all events View all anniversaries

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