by Martin Lake
When young actor Thomas Mapperley faces dire punishment for seducing the daughter of an aristocrat he is saved by an unlikely champion, Francis Walsingham, spymaster to Queen Elizabeth.
Mapperley is soon dispatched to the Low Countries where William, Prince of Orange is engaged in a deadly struggle against the powerful forces of the Spanish Crown. If he loses the war, the Low Countries will remain part of the Spanish Empire. If he wins, the Low Countries may become a new nation.
Mapperley finds he is both pawn and player in the turbulent times ahead, captured by the Spaniards, used as an agent by William and finally witnessing the terrible sack of Antwerp, the wealthiest city in Europe. And every moment, his life hangs in the balance.
Perhaps being a spy was a bad move. Perhaps he should have remained an actor.
A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a period/topic of history that was unfamiliar to me. The Dutch versus The Spanish for control of the low countries of Europe. Thomas is an actor, but once he’s ‘drafted’ into the realm of Walsingham’s spy network, he develops the skills necessary to survive what I feel is the real villain in this tale – The Spanish Inquisition. During the course of this page turning tale, Thomas and his companions (wonderful characters in themselves especially Angel) are faced with many challenges – another of the author’s strengths are the details of the places and events in this well-researched piece of European history. Emotionally charged, entertaining dialogue, and an edge of the seat drama make Apprentice Spy a pleasure to read…something I’ve come to expect from this author and I have yet to be disappointed. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐