Havoc, in Its Third Year

Ronan Bennett


Havoc, in Its Third Year

Havoc, in Its Third Year

  • Title: Havoc, in Its Third Year
  • Author: Ronan Bennett
  • ISBN: 9780743258562
  • Page: 315
  • Format: Hardcover



A penetrating and ambitious historical novel, Havoc, in Its Third Year is an ingenious, often deeply unnerving narrative of seventeenth century England that speaks directly to the fanaticism and fears of today.The time is the early seventeenth century, as the quarrel between Royalists and Parliamentarians turns toward civil war, and that between Catholics and ProtestantsA penetrating and ambitious historical novel, Havoc, in Its Third Year is an ingenious, often deeply unnerving narrative of seventeenth century England that speaks directly to the fanaticism and fears of today.The time is the early seventeenth century, as the quarrel between Royalists and Parliamentarians turns toward civil war, and that between Catholics and Protestants leads toward bloody religious tyranny the place is a town in northern England, set in a grim landscape swept by crop failures, plague and rumors of war, in which rigid Puritans have taken over government and imposed their own rules.At the center of the novel is John Brigge, the Coroner and a Governor of the town, though not by any means as convinced a zealot as his fellow governors have become Married and deeply in love with Elizabeth, who is pregnant with their first child, he has a guilty secret to hide in his affection for Dorcas, his wife s ward a secret which, in the world of religious prejudice and extremism toward which England is moving, can be lethal.Determined to obey the law, rather than prejudice and the need to make an example of an Irishwoman accused of murdering her own infant, Brigge draws upon himself the hostility and suspicion of the powerful men who have been his fellow governors and who now set out to destroy him in the name of morality.Brigge is both sympathetic and deeply vulnerable He genuinely loves Elizabeth and longs for their child to be born, but he is also deeply attracted to Dorcas he is, however guardedly, of the old faith and does not hesitate to hide a priest he favors the wretched vagrants who infest the roads, seeking shelter and a bite to eat, and employsone of them on his farm He insists on finding out the truth about the Irishwoman s baby, despite the fact that everybody has already decided on her guilt In short, without intending to do so, John Brigge offers himself up as a victim by refusing to cooperate with the political and religious masters of the town or to subordinate his own conscience to their demand for rigid obedience and piety Even his own clerk Adam, whom he regards as a son, turns against him in the end in a struggle that will almost cost Brigge his life and that sends him out into a cold and dangerous world, having sacrificed everything he once held dear, stripped of his power and authority, but made heroic by his commitment to love, truth and human feelings Havoc, in Its Third Year is a novel of great power, drama and terror, at once a love story and a superb work of historical fiction It confirms Ronan Bennett s reputation as a masterful creator.


Recent Comments "Havoc, in Its Third Year"

it has happened again!!! well, two things have happened again. first,i started reading this book thinking it was about the plague. the cover looks plague-y right? well, its not. which is fine, but this is just the second time in as many months that i for some reason have a clear mental sense of what a book is about and as i am reading i have to wonder why my mind was lying to me. second: as i was already well into the book, i decided idly to read the back copy. (or flap copy, as i have the hardc [...]

Surely it has to be acknowledged that the far less than profound expectation of most fiction on the part of the everyday reader is that it will be in some way entertaining, which is what for some reason I had hoped for from this historical novel. This book is well enough written using language that gives a strong sense of period whilst remaining easily understood. It is clearly quite well grounded in factual research and starts out as if it is to be an historical mystery or detective story. Then [...]

Havoc is a multi-layered parable set in England in the 1630s. A time shortly before a religious based civil war during which King Charles I was beheaded, a time of immense unrest. Catholics were outlawed and their priests when found were hung, drawn and quartered. Surviving Catholic laymen were barely tolerated, were suspected of conspiring with the pope to overturn society and were forced to attend Church of England services four times annually. Many persons were displaced and were roaming the [...]

This was disappointing. Historical fiction can be a heavy lift, especially when it is set in a time of such twisted and unfamiliar mindset as Puritanism. This succumbed to caricature, and did not really grapple with the Puritan outlook, other than blame-and-shame. It basically took a modern-minded protagonist, thrust him into the uncongenial setting, and he didn't much like it. We likely wouldn't either, but if you are expecting insight or understanding as to the trends of those times, you will [...]

In Brigge the coroner, Bennett has created an interesting and sympathetic character and the parts of the novel which deal with his domestic life are deftly handled. In particular, I found the passage in which he and his wife reaffirm their love at the crisis of their lives is profoundly moving. However, his Puritan antagonists are one dimensional characters, whose motivations are never really explained, and too much of the narrative is taken up either with descriptions of the degradation and cru [...]

Set in England in the early 1630s, but with lots of resonance for the present, as a small town's leaders seek to impose order in the face of perceptions of increasing disorder & immorality by increasingly harsh & far-reaching punishment. Our hero haltingly pleads for tolerance, reason, & mercy but is torn between the need to make such pleas in public, the risks of doing so, & the desire to simply retreat into the pleasures & small comforts of his family (his wife & son). [...]

What I found most impressive about this book was that not only the dialogue, but also the descriptive, was written in period language. And not by throwing in archaic terms, which most historical fiction writers do, but by having an absolute grasp on the sentence structure of the 17th century. (Or at least what I understand of the 17th century)The story focuses on a man who holds office in a town during a time of political unrest and religious upheaval. Our protagonist is a man struggling between [...]

Havoc, in Its Third Year is a historical detective story that very deftly balances the needs of a good crime novel with the mood of its setting. Bennett manages to craft a story that is full of questions, twists and turns, and moral imbiguity for both its protagonist and the characters who surround him. He has also crafted a voice for himself, specifically for this book, which perfectly fits the setting of seventeenth-century England. It may not be altogether realistic, but it is evocative and d [...]

I picked this novel up years ago, but never got round to reading it. Now that I have, I wish I had read it sooner. Other than sleepy hollow, I've never read a crime novel set in 1600s England. Written, with interesting characters, self reflection, as well as development. What really makes this novel brilliant is its language. Instead of opting for writing in dated English, Bennett uses modern English, but colors it with biblical phrasing especially that of the St. James Bible. Ending with a twis [...]

FAVOURITE QUOTE: "There is today too much pleading of sincerity Let me have men who are doubtful, who struggle with their consciences, who sometimes are confused by right and wrong, whose perceptions fail, whose troubled minds lead them this way and that and even to dark places they should not go. I do not care for these certain men who insist that what they feel is the truth as though their sincerity alone were enough to excuse their fanatic hearts."

This was a pretty good novel. But who needs pretty good novels? Not me.

Mid 4. This novel deftly explores the religious and political turmoil which was inherent in 1630s England. With Charles I attempting to rule without the support of Parliament schisms appear between those who adhere to religious traditions and puritanical sects who wish to create a 'community of saints' by removing any vestiges of popery from the realm. As such, in the northern town which acts as the novel's setting a group of prominent Puritans under the leadership of Nathaniel Challenor have as [...]

Yorkshire in the 1630s is a bleak, impoverished place. Puritanism is gathering strength. The harvest has failed for the third year in succession, and desperation is spreading. The response of the local authorities is a law and order crackdown, which needless to say has done nothing to reduce thefts or public disturbances. Local coroner John Brigge has to find his way through this tricky place. He is a relatively well-off farmer, also the public coroner and a governor of his town, but his status [...]

Well, it finally happened. I finally got my comeuppance.Let's start at the beginning: I have an eerily innate ability to derail people in life that wholeheartedly attempt to be very inclusive of others; inclusive by way of equal weight and value placement on differing opinion and asinine suggestion.Fair enough.Anyway, back to my comeuppance. For legal reasons I cannot delve too deep into detail, but let me state the following right here and now before I return to my given task at hand:There is n [...]

This historical fiction was a bit of a curate's egg, all told. Some fantastic characterisation, and the scenes between John and his wife Elizabeth shone: a beautifully human relationship demonstrating true understanding and compassion; but the story arc seemed to peter out somewhere, the mystery of a child's death and a falsely accused mother never really leading to anything as interesting as had been suggesting and really operating as a backdrop for the more everyday human dramas going on. Whil [...]

This book starts out as a murder mystery, evolves into a historical novel about small town political intrigue, and winds up as a meditation on morality and duty to fellow man. It loses a little steam as it makes that third transition but is overall an absorbing read. The hero, John Brigge, is a flawed but sympathetic man who is caught in a situation that is very specific to his time and place but has universal aspects. There are some dream and vision sequences that are handled a bit awkwardly bu [...]

An enjoyable enough read, but lacked a certain something. I've read other novels set in England in the mid 17th Century and found them to be far more historically evocative. The plot just sort of meanders along and the element of mystery was too subtle.Some interesting characters but all rather two dimensional. Personal taste and all that, but I'd rather have followed Katherine Shay's story in far more detail.

Historical novels are enjoyable as all the period detail sticks in your mind better than it does when, say, making your way through a proper history book. Even though it's not actually fact or anything like that, and is just a story that one person did think up out of their head. Anyway, I'm now an expert on 17th century England. Ask me anything.

I really liked Bennett'sThe Catastrophistso I was disappointed by how lackluster this turned out to be. He's so caught up in trying to capture the turmoil of the period that the plot and characters never really cohere. Plus, he starts with what could be an intriguing mystery and totally drops it for a pretty awful WTF ending.

If you like historical novels and family dramas, then this is for you. I'm not a particular fan so found boring and a bit soppy at times; although the ending was brilliantly written, it was a typically soppy ending.

A historical novel, with a healthy dose of crime thriller, Havoc is - in a word - atmospheric. Bennett vividly brings the fears and passions of the 1630s to life. I particularly like the author's use of the language of the time in a way that still makes it easy to read.

It's such a relief to find a book that's such a good read! A fascinating insight into life during that period, emotionally engaging, plus a plot, hurrah! I read it in one gulp, I just couldn't put it down.

This is my second attempt at this book but I just can't finish it. The characters and story are simply not compelling and the plot drags way too much. Made it about halfway through each time before realizing I was too bored too continue.

A good, solid read, very well-researched. Really gives you a sense of the religious zealotry of the times, as well as the rampant suspicion of some manner of Catholic overthrow. Well-rounded and subtle characters.

An excellent novel set in the 1640's in England, a bloody and unsettled time. The compelling and richly-detailed story touches on greater themes of religious/political fervour, demonising the Other and the duty of the citizen to make moral choices. Time to re-read (January, 2017)

A definite page-turner exploring religious fundamentalism in 17th Century England that however only seems to scratch the surface of the times. Interesting study of power and its abuses that somehow failed to completely captivate.

Ronan Bennet takes you on a trip back into the madness of puritanical England - and the comparisons with our own intolerant age are striking. The story of how one mans attempts to live an honest life at a time when people were putting the mental into fundamental.

Great, great book. Historical novel, very grim, set in England at the time when Irish immigrants were seeking work and refuge in the country, and religious & political intolerance were growing sound familiar? Blisteringly well-written.

I really enjoy historical fiction, especially ugly historical fiction. This book is not uplifting.

I would have given it 3 stars if it were not for the ending, which I felt was appropriate, but not in keeping with the rest of the book.


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    Posted by:Ronan Bennett
    Published :2019-02-08T13:47:57+00:00