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What people are saying about Monk’s Orchard:
“I have just finished reading this novel by John Morrison. Like his other books, this was an impressive and enjoyable read. In this book, the author chooses a theme so different from his first novel. This alone is impressive ;that he can range to themes so vastly different. His character development is again strong and the great amount of historical research that he has done is evident. Using a narrator to span the generations is an interesting and effective literary device. Let us hope that Mr.Morrison has more equally interesting novels in store for us.”
“I liked Mr Morrison’s use of a narrator to explain the context of the historical context of the story. I enjoyed this well written book about a family struggling with their religious beliefs during the Reformation.”
“Riveting! An amazing historical novel accurate and riveting. The author is captivating in his descriptions of the brutality and harshness of the time.
I enjoyed it immensely and had a hard time putting it down.”
“Monk’s Orchard does well what good historical novels do; it places the reader back in time to allow us to live and see events which are often today unimaginable. As a secular member of the modern western world I could previously only wonder at the religious strife of the past, and sometimes still in other parts of the world. Monk’s Orchard provides a human perspective on the causes and effects of the conflict which raged during and after the 100 years’ war in Europe. At first blush the book may appear anti-Catholic then evolve to anti-religious. It is neither; it merely comments on the role of mankind in propagating and suffering through such conflict. This is a good speculative read for the historian and good entertainment. I am looking forward to the next work from John Morrison.”
“Dear Mr John Morrison,
Have just completed reading Monk’s ORCHARD. Found your book very interesting especially into the many facets of the Protestant reformation. The description of being hanged, drawn, and quartered indeed sent shivers down my spine! Surely these executioners of England could hold their own with their rivals in the Spanish Inquisition? The whole period, is certainly a blood thirsty lesson to us all about the dangers of religious fanaticism. This New Jerusalem, is in many ways a harbinger of the new religion of “Climate Change.” With it high priests & priestess’s seeking to save us all from the evils of carbon over-indulgence. Pray that their fanatical crusade doesn’t result in an economical disaster for the Western Alliance and a victory for the Chinese-Russian Pact. Your accounts of the sea battles between the British and Spanish Navies are superb.
The point you made about Switzerland being a major influence in the Reformation was particularly interesting. Considering the fact that they were completely surrounded on all borders by catholic countries did not seem to deter their revolutionary zeal. Your research and scholarly
Insight into this historical period is par excellence.”
Monk’s Orchard is a story of survival, of retribution and of revenge. It is also a story of faith in which men and women of strong spiritual conviction and beliefs find themselves caught up in a time of extreme religious intolerance.
Monk’s Orchard introduces the reader to various historical personalities and events as they occur and as seen through the eyes of the multi-generational Stillwell men and women during these turbulent years. Through them the challenges of John Calvin and the genesis of his protestant ministry in Geneva Switzerland come to light. The Spanish Armada, the Puritan exile, the plight of English kings and queens of this period, and rebellion and civil war are also predominant elements in this account of spiritual and societal awakening.
In Monk’s Orchard you will learn about John Calvin: The Father of Protestantism. He wasn’t as fanatical as people make out.
The harsh reality of living and surviving in 16th and 17th century Protestant Reformation England and Europe comes to light in Monk’s Orchard where being on the right or wrong side of the religious debate often meant the difference between life and death itself. This becomes evident by the experiences of the Stillwell family as they live through the political turmoil and social upheaval caused by the religious fanaticism of the Reformation period.
And John Knox – a Scottish firebrand who had a problem with women named Mary.
Fighting with Francis Drake in Cadiz and with Howard against the Armada:
Singeing the King of Spain’s Beard at Cadiz:
“An Unfortunate Armada” Admiral Howard.
Yet, through all of the chaos of the times, the Stillwell family estate of Monk’s Orchard remains a constant thread; a thread that weaves itself in and out of the fiber of this God-fearing family in a world that has seemingly gone completely out of control.
Monk’s Orchard offered a peaceful respite for the Stillwell family. Nestled in the South Downs region of England the estate offered the Stillwell’s their heaven on earth.
Then the absolutism of the Stewarts and the English Civil Wars, execution of Charles I came about and set the Stillwell family on fire. Survival, followed by retribution and revenge, became the Stillwell rallying cry.
The English Civil War in 3 minutes.
There are some excellent documentaries out there about the civil wars of England, Puritanism and the execution of Charles I. Of course all of this is covered as a backdrop to the challenges facing the Stillwell family of Monk’s Orchard.
Check it out. It is a great read….honest!
A short bit about me:
I am a retired naval officer. I currently live with my wife in Mill Bay, British Columbia. The inspiration in writing Monk’s Orchard came as a result of the time I spent on exchange duty with the Royal Navy at HMS Dryad, Hampshire UK in the late 1980’s. While stationed there I lived in the South Downs market town of Petersfield, which forms part of the backdrop of this work of historical fiction.
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