Read The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason Online


England in the early reign of James I: an unsteady nation adapts to its new king; Shakespeare labors over the tragedies of Othello and Macbeth; bearbaiting is a popular diversion . . . and Guy Fawkes, with a small group of desperate men, hatches a terrifying plot to assassinate the king and all of Parliament by explosion.Francis Quoynt is a firemaster who would rather makeEngland in the early reign of James I: an unsteady nation adapts to its new king; Shakespeare labors over the tragedies of Othello and Macbeth; bearbaiting is a popular diversion . . . and Guy Fawkes, with a small group of desperate men, hatches a terrifying plot to assassinate the king and all of Parliament by explosion.Francis Quoynt is a firemaster who would rather make fireworks than war. Kate Peach is a poor glovemaker and a mistress to the powerful Hugh Taylor, who is forced to hide her Catholicism as she spends her days looking out on noisy, teeming London streets crowded with prostitutes and drunks.Once Francis and Kate were lovers before the firemaster abandoned her and the plague destroyed her family. Now they will meet again as enemies caught up in the maelstrom of treachery and violence surrounding Fawkes's malevolent plot. In the midst of chaos and madness, the flame of their romance will be dangerously rekindled, as their lives and the London they know are changed forever....

Title : The Firemaster's Mistress
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007180684
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 511 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Firemaster's Mistress Reviews

  • Anne
    2019-04-28 07:54

    Set in 1605, this novel tells the story of the Gunpowder Plot, an assassination attempt by English Catholics to blow up the Houses of Parliament on opening day, so killing the new king, James I, and his heir, Prince Henry. Today, the plot is remembered every November 5th as Guy Fawkes day -- Guy Fawkes being one of the conspirators.The novel centers around two protagonists, Kate Peach and Francis Quoynt. Kate is a secret Catholic, the only survivor of her family who is supporting herself in London by making gloves, despite not being a member of the guild. Francis is a firemaster, manufacturing and deploying gunpowder explosives. They are former lovers, separated by war, and the story of the gunpowder plot is told through their connections to the conspirators.Overall, I found the book engaging, if a little far-fetched at points. Kate's friendship with Caledonian Meg, a bear from the bear pits, for example, was a real stretch for me. Historical detail was included, and for the most part interesting (bear in mind I was a history minor in college and actually voluntarily read history books today).I found, unfortunately, many of the characters incompletely drawn -- outside of Kate and occasionally Francis, there were few other characters with complex motivations that the reader could divine.*Spoiler Alert* At the point the book ended, I was about to give it a "meh" review -- then came the killer point. And if you plan on reading the book, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER as I am about to answer one of the main plot questions.Kate and Francis were lovers, and reconnected with intensity in the first part of the book. Enough is shown of their emotional attachment to each other, as well as their sexual attachment, to lead the reader to view their relationship as an affair of true love, with an expectation that they'll end up together.After Kate is caught harboring a Catholic priest, she is spared and makes her escape from London with Francis' assistance, making for his home where he plans to hide her. As the rest of the Gunpowder Plot concludes, Kate and Francis' father, Boomer Quoynt, fall in love and plan their marriage.WHAT? I feel the author didn't read up enough on the issue of prohibited degrees of affinity! At least to my understanding, after a sexual relationship with Francis, all Francis' family were then related to Kate -- it didn't matter that they were never legally married. Kate marrying Francis' father is unthinkable -- and she would never have consented. It's equivalent to incest, and completely out of character for Kate and destroyed my opinion of the book.

  • Darlene
    2019-04-28 08:06

    I really enjoyed The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason. For those who were reading the noontime chats that J. Kaye and I had, I was quite taken with the story. It's that really good mix of history and fiction that I really like to read.The story revolves around The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 when a group of angry Catholics planned on blowing up the first day of the English Parliament along with the Protestant King and the Prince of Wales. The way that the author has weaved the parts of history that are known with her tale of what may have happened around this time in history is quite intriguing. I was really drawn to the main characters, in particular Kate, Francis and Boomer (Francis' father). I felt invested in them and wanted to know what was going to happen to them in all the turmoil going on around them. Kate is a glovemaker who has lost all her family and ends up bestowing favors on a not so nice man to be able to live. Life for her would have been unbearable otherwise and it was better to service one man, than many. Francis is a firemaster, as his father was before him. Francis and Kate had formerly been lovers but Francis had taken off as his first passion in life is 'fire'. He thrives on the excitement and risk. They end up meeting as enemies at this time in history-on different sides of the fence. However, their romance does heat up for a short while.This story is full of twists and turns. It's an intricate tale that culminates in an ending that I wasn't at all expecting. I found it an exciting and enthralling story that kept my interest throughout. For those who really love a good historical novel I would absolutely recommend it. For those who weren't following the noontime chats, more of my review of this novel can be found here and here, where there is also a great Q&A that Christie had participated in and also my final thoughts here. http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspo...

  • Jirinka (sony08)
    2019-05-01 05:44

    I really enjoyed this book. It was quite a quick read for me. The author got straight into the action and quickly introduced all characters. The story covers the time before and just after the alleged BLOW UP of Parliament in 1605 and all involved with this plot. She introduces Guido Fawkes neither as a villain nor as a hero and kind of leaves the reader to make up their own minds. We are introduced to the twisted body of Robert Cecil who hires firemaster Frances Quoynt to find him traitors who plot to kill the King James I - but the task gets more twisted and difficult that Frances anticipates. The characters of Kate Peach and both father and son Frances Quoynts were very well described and very likeable each in different way and for different reasons. The language was crude at times and maybe not what you'd read in books by Phillipa Gregory or Alison Weir, but after few chapters I got used to that and realised that when you write about the lives in the darkest parts of 17'th century London with all it's ale houses and brothels you need to make the language seem authentic. Great book - for me it's 10/10 and I will read more by this author.

  • Alison
    2019-05-01 08:11

    I really enjoyed the book actually and I was hooked on it from the first page. I like page turners and this was one of them. Although as I started to approach the end (about three quarters of the book), I started getting a little bored but only for a bit, as it then regained the fascinating pace which I enjoyed at the beginning. I quite enjoyed the ending although do not really like the direction in which the love story went.Historically, it was a very interesting book for me as I'm not that familiar with the Stuarts as I am with the Tudors. I really liked the formation of the characters. All in all, if the subject interests me, I would definitely take a look at other books from Christie Dickason.

  • Sara
    2019-05-22 01:04

    I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, and it turned out fairly decent. Don't expect anything fabulous from it, but it does give an interesting view on the events leading up to Guy Fawkes' attempt to blow up Parliament. The love story between the main characters isn't that well written, and the ending of that part of the story really is bizarre in my opinion. However, the intrigues in this period of English history, especially around the king and his ministers, is very interesting.

  • Vi Walker
    2019-05-15 08:06

    More of a 3.5 star read than 3 stars. It was enjoyable and reasonably well written. The subject matter (the Gunpowder Plot) is interesting and the fictional characters quite strong but for some reason I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I felt I should have. Nonetheless, given the time at which I read it (late October) it was an interesting and apposite read shedding more light on the date that everyone knows!

  • Mel
    2019-05-12 08:09

    I enjoyed reading this novel about a new conspiracy theory behind the Guy Fawlkes bombing of English parliament which we commemorate on 5 Nov each year. Was disappointed with how the author wrote the love story. Won't give away the plot but it just doesn't seem feasible to me.

  • CLM
    2019-05-14 06:02

    I see no reason why gunpowder treasonshould e'er be forgot!

  • Mary Beth
    2019-05-24 08:59

    I read this book because I didn't know much about the conspiracy. Good read.

  • Anne Neville
    2019-05-09 02:05

    I read The Firemaster's Mistress in one day, despite it's bulk (over 500 pages). In the morning, as I was beginning, I had a doctor's appointment, and the doctor looked at the cover and asked me "Is that highbrow--or is it smut? I can't tell from the cover." I wasn't sure myself, and so I couldn't answer yet. It promised to be an interesting intrigue story about the Guy Fawkes conspiracy to blow up Parliament, King James I, and his son, Henry, Prince of Wales in order to reaffirm the Catholic faith in England. It also promised a little bit of romance between the title character (Kate Peach) and the book's true protagonist, her former lover (Francis Quoynt, a young military firemaster and gunpowder maker who has aspirations of developing beautiful fireworks instead of instruments of war).The first third or half of the book follows through on the promise of the book's title, focusing on Kate and her struggle for survival alone: plying an illegal trade (glovemaking), befriending a bear from the bear-baiting arena, tolerating an abusive lover so that she doesn't have to become a straight-out prostitute, all the time trying to conceal her Roman Catholic faith and earn enough money to escape Southwark. After the halfway point, author Christie Dickason switches her focus to Francis and his attempts to ferret out the major players of the Gunpowder plot, fulfill and comprehend the subtle plan of his cunning employer (Robert Cecil), and set the stage for resuming his interrupted love affair. It is at this point that the book begins to disappoint: as a character, Kate is far more compelling that Francis. Indeed, Francis's father, Boomer, is more compelling character than Francis. Perhaps this is why, when the conspiracy winds down to its inevitable conclusion, I at last found theanswer to the doctor's question: The Firemaster's Mistress is not smut, nor is it a romance. Right when either of the chief couple's love affair should be coming to a satisfactory conclusion (view spoiler)[Kate Peach announces her intention to marry Francis's father, Boomer, with whom she has fallen in love after Francis hides her in his dad's gunpowder factory. Although the ending is not totally unjustified (Boomer shows more interest in Kate's life history than the preoccupied Francis, seems to have a secret affinity for Catholicism, and goes so far as to track down and buy Kate her beloved retired fighter bear, Meg, before she's made into a fur rug) (hide spoiler)]... it is a twist the reader doesn't see coming and does not particularly appreciate so late in the novel.It is as if Dickason has been forced definitively to say "this is not a romance novel"--that it is, despite the characters' backstories and sexual tension, "historical intrigue." Perhaps the author intends to leave her characters open for sequels. If so, I would be willing to read them. Despite the fact that he is overshadowed by Kate and Boomer, Francis is an interesting enough character to follow into a series. However, I am left with the feeling that the book's title was misleading: The Firemaster's Mistress should have been merely The Firemaster. In terms of research and historical detail, I must confess I am not an expert on the day-to-day life of Southwark dwellers in 1605. Nevertheless, as far as I can tell, Dickason has painted a vivid and well-researched portrait of the era, evoking the blood, lust, and bloodlust of the City's "entertainment district."I wish Dickason had kept her focus on Kate Peach, getting her more and more involved in the Gunpowder Conspiracy and its unravelling, and have saved the development of Francis for whatever sequels may come. Or that any sequels will focus on Kate and (view spoiler)[Boomer (hide spoiler)], instead. Nevertheless, any five-hundred page book that I read in one day deserves praise as a good, absorbing read.

  • Kat
    2019-05-16 02:42

    I hate being disappointed in my books, but I really couldn't avoid it with this one. Christie Dickason's other Jacobean set novels were extremely enjoyable, so I admit I came to this text with higher expectations than normal. However, even if I came to this book cold, I doubt I would have enjoyed it greatly.I believe in balanced reviews, so it is important to note the positives. The premise itself is highly intriguing, and seemingly original. Focusing on the idea of a Firemaster and his abilities seemed like an excellent idea. The book jacket implied a love story with a Catholic during a turbulent period, which should have provided for meaty dialogue and exciting arguments. The portrayal of a flawed, yet determined Robert Cecil was beyond reproach, as he was both despicable and yet demanded the utmost respect. But.I have several major issues with this book. First, for a book with a lot of exclamations and monologue get, there was little backstory that actually explained the characters extreme attachments to one another. Sudden actions (like someone jumping into bed with another) are clumsily treated, and feel like an afterthought. The plot itself meanders, with very little character development. The ending was poor, plain and simple. The romantic attachment that remained an undercurrent of the text is dropped unceremoniously, so much so that I felt let down by the author.Finally, the anti-Elizabeth sentiment was pretty hard to take and seemed to be crammed down my throat at times. YMMV on this one though, as I do have a strong opinion on that particular Tudor!I suppose I am so disappointed because I think Dickason capable of much more. Oh well, there are many more books in the bookshelf.

  • Laura
    2019-05-16 01:05

    Loved this! Meet my Francis Quoynt ... Set in England in the early years of James I reign, in "The Firemaster's Mistress" Christie Dickason totally brings Shakespeare's London to life - the sights of people bustling through Southwark, barges laden with goods floating down the Thames, crowds of people watching the bearbaiting in the gardens; the sounds of street hawkers selling their wares and religious men telling the crowds about the evils of Catholicism, the applause at the theatre; and the smells of rubbish and horse manure rotting in the streets and unwashed bodies. Now I get that what I've just described sounds incredibly unappealing ... but I would love to spend a day or two in Jacobean London! I've always thought it seems like a really fun, lively era. I'd totally work an outfit like this ... "The Firemaster's Mistress" tells the stories of Francis Quoynt, a firemaster (someone who knows how to handle and work with gunpowder) who'd rather create amazing fireworks than use his skills to make firearms and weaponry and Kate Peach, a poor glovemaker, mistress to the powerful (and shitty) Hugh Taylor, and also a secret Catholic. Francis and Kate were previously lovers but their relationship ended on a bit of a sour note! They both find themselves involved with Guy Fawkes and the infamous Gunpowder plot to assassinate King James, and also falling for each other again - and this is where the story gets really interesting!

  • Magpie
    2019-05-17 08:56

    Meryl 2016This is not a romance novel, neither is it really about the Firemaster's Mistress (Kate Peach) neither is she really his mistress so adjust your expectations accordingly.The novel in essence is about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, a plan so ambitious so it seems rooted in pure fiction. A mixed group of Catholic nobles and soldiers decide to blow up the houses of parliament with the king, all his retainers, nobles, court, ministers and family present.They were to abduct his young daughter and place her on the throne as the new Catholic ruler and dispatch her less suitable older brothers.That the plot was able to proceed as far as it did (to provide Cecil with indisputable proof of treason, a unifying set of villains, a masterstroke of elevating James I to diviner extraordinaire while cementing his own powerful position in the king's favour) seems almost unbelievable.And therein lies Ms Dickason's entry - it was unbelievable, indeed it was stage managed beautifully and the novel cleverly explains how and why while throwing in a few literary characters and a very fruity sub plot.I enjoyed it. It had a rollicking energy that was infectious and bears the hallmark of thorough and robust research. It flagged a bit in the middle and the romantic denouement raised an eyebrow or two, but overall it was a very good historical novel, given the stamp of approval by Philippa Gregory no less. 4/5 bring on some more Francis I say ...This guy will do. is another in the series ...The Principessa (Francis Quoynt #2)

  • Kelly
    2019-05-17 04:47

    I love historical fiction, and while I largely only read about the monarchy, I was really looking forward to reading about another historical event. The plot was actually rather good, and I really enjoyed the investigative aspects and the double-crossing elements. If this book had been better edited, I actually would have given it a two-star rating. Alas.Firstly, the book was too long and the sub-plots were stupid. There, I've said it. Kate feeding and talking to a bear?? What? Why? How is that relevant to the Gunpowder plot? So much could have been cut out and it still would have made sense. Long pages of Francis walking about and watching people or being watched. Long paragraphs detailing Kate making gloves and what they looked like and how hard she had to push the needle through the material - it all should have been cut out so that the tension and action could progress. Instead we kept getting this building of tension, and then nothingness. Kate was given a lot of page time and was one of our main narrators, but her presence could have been removed entirely and the book would still have been readable. I actually started skipping her chapters because they were so dull and added nothing to the plot. Francis should have been the only narrator because he was in the thick of the action and was actually likeable.It is a real shame that this hadn't been better edited, because it could have been a better read.

  • Deena
    2019-04-30 07:47

    I'm not usually into historical fiction but this book was an exception for me. I found it on the shelf at a used book store, a little water damaged and just the right price. I was intrigued by the title and synopsis. I took it home, and subsequently took it with me everywhere for the next few days.I was afraid it was going to be a romance novel but it turned out to be more than that. The love story starts out front and center and develops throughout the book, though doesn't turn out quite how you would expect. I actually feel a little proud of Kate for how she decides to direct her life in that aspect, instead of going the direction expected.Kate Peach is a strong, well developed character. I have to admit, I love her. Sometimes while following other characters through the book, I would find myself waiting to get back to Kate. The time we spend with Francis is weak in comparison to what we get from Kate and even from Francis' father, Boomer.Love story aside, the book is full of political and personal conflict, ranging from morality and religion to the large scale patriotism. I'm not an expert but it seemed to be historically accurate within it's bounds. I would be interested in following a series. I would give a book about Francis a shot but I was more interested in Kate, in the end. The book was aptly named.

  • Kirstyn
    2019-05-11 04:00

    I WAS going to rate it five stars, until I found out that Kate was marrying Boomer. Okay. Lets start from the beginning. Not the sort of book I go out of my way to read, but the cover was awesome so I got it from the library and started to read. It was interesting and easy to read, I enjoyed it at first. Got distracted by another book, but then I picked it up again and lost much sleep finishing it. Very enjoyable read, I never knew what was going to happen - how would Francis get out of this, would the king really die, was Cecil a traitor? So many questions to keep me interested. And in the end, it was great. I liked how the whole Hammick/Bacon situation was dealt with. And I was loving the book, looking forward to when Francis returned home to marry Kate. But no. She's marrying Boomer. No. I do not agree with that resolution. That RUINED the book. I spent the last few chapters desperately hoping that somehow they had tricked Francis. But no. I despise this ending and if I ever re-read the book, I would stop at the point where Francis is about to ride home. If I owned the book, I would tear out the ending and write my own. This ending has ruined a great book and caused it to be an average book.

  • Alison
    2019-05-10 08:42

    The ending of this book filled me with disappointment, and I suspect one of two scenarios. Either the author started writing a romance novel, then changed course following a nasty divorce/swearing off of men, or a publisher changed the name from "The Firemaster" to "The Firemaster's mistress." In short, I was expecting a romance novel, and this was not one.While the first third of the book was certainly about the title "mistress" character and included some juicy details, the remainder cast her only in minor subplots. I fully expected the romance to return right up to the point where the author dumped a literary bucket of water on my romantic expectations. (Ewwww!)I guess this novel is for people who *really*, *really* like history (usually I do) and are forewarned that history is all they'll get here.

  • Kim Hathorn
    2019-05-19 02:44

    1605 LondonFiremaster Francis Quoynt has recently returned to England after fighting in the European wars. Employed by the military to make gunpowder, all he hopes to do is to repair his family home, pursue his love of making rockets and decorative fireworks, and live peacefully with his father. Kate Peach is a glovemaker, and Catholic. Orphaned and made destitute by the plague, she is forced to make gloves under the radar in order to make ends meet, and to one day escape the clutches of a brutal lover. But one day their lives would change profusely when an explosion rocked London Bridge. With his knowledge of explosives Francis Quoynt found himself tapped by the governmental powers that be to help with the investigation and to find out who was behind the explosion.

  • Linda Barry
    2019-05-12 03:08

    Enjoyed this book, a wonderful twisted read through the early Stuart court. Really enjoyed character development and the use of intrigue to heighten emotion in the book. First book in a while, I had to not read at night as it gave me nightmares (yes I dreamed of soldier's coming to arrest me) decided to confine reading to day light hours. Enjoyed the authors note at the end regarding the true history and her use of intellect to imagine what happened between the lines. Who knows, if history is written by the victors, (or villains) maybe this is a more realistic view of what really happened. In historical points right up to par with the likes of Phillipa Gregory, this author is no slouch on her own research.

  • Iola
    2019-05-25 04:52

    I picked this up because I like historical fiction, and it is a period and event that hasn't yet been overdone (I am so over the whole Tudor period). Unfortunately, it's a bit violent for my tastes, and I've a suspicion that it's going to end up a bit like the movie, 'Titanic' - we know Guido Fawkes is going to try and blow up the Houses of Parliament. Pretty impressed at the depth of some of the research, but sometimes that research is getting in the way of the actual story.I eventually gave up - I just didn't care enough about the characters to waste any more time on it, and I didn't like some of the language used.

  • Gill
    2019-05-22 07:08

    This was an enjoyable read but failed on too many counts. First, there are two novels packed into one book. The story of Kate would have made a good book, Francis making the gunpowder another. Second, the romance was very heavy-handed and faintly implausible. Third, the sub-plot involving Hammick and the Pretender was contrived and unnecessary. But what I really object to is the way that a fictional character, Francis, is placed at the heart of the intrigues of the Gunpowder Plot. Historical novels need fictional characters to drive the narrative but she has crossed a line into fantasy by making Francis so central to an historical event.

  • Sara
    2019-05-22 05:05

    Although this book had a fun fictitious account of the famous Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot (and I learned more than I ever needed or wanted to know about the production of gunpowder....) I wouldn't really recommend it. It was predictable and ho hum, and worst of all the several spanish phrases included were mooooostly wrong. Usually in verb tense, for instance, "se puede entrar" was translated directly below it into "Can I enter?" whilst it actually means "Can he/she enter" OR "You (formal) may enter." This just makes me think.....Where were your editors?????? And I really can't abide it. The end.

  • Sophie
    2019-05-04 03:04

    I haven't read many books set in the Jacobean era, and this one, centering around the infamous Gunpowder Plot was quite readable, although a little uneven. The main characters of Francis Quoynt, a firemaster (explosives expert) and his former lover Kate Peach, a feisty secret Catholic, were likeable and flawed enough to be interesting. I did find the other characters a little thinly drawn and kept forgetting which was which (probably my fault). The historical detail was interesting, but the conclusion of the book was odd and a little unsatisfying.

  • PJ Ebbrell
    2019-05-22 03:44

    It wasn't bad, but yet another story that has religious fundamentalists wanting to do their worse, but little realising that they had been rumbled and weren't going to back down.Of course, it is unlikely that if they had succeed in their plot. It is likely that a more rabid form of protestant would have gripped these Islands. I found it a very visual novel and there were some threads hanging, or I read to fast. Of how Kate met Francis first. An enjoyable, diverting read.

  • korey
    2019-05-12 07:56

    Fun read. Historical fiction during James I reign about the Gunpowder Plot. Although the book isn't as good as Philippa Gregory's books, it's a solid read and the story is a great one. Loved the character Boomer. The title should be "The Firemaster's" though because there wasn't enough story of the Mistress - which is a shame because she is an interesting character, but the story was not centered around her. If you like historical fiction, you should like this.

  • Wendi
    2019-05-24 06:59

    The book was suspenseful up until about page 475. After that was as if the author ran out of ideas or something. After all the buildup there was no climax or fantastic twist. I kept waiting for a surprise that never came and a lifetime love affair finally realized; neither of which happened. It was disappointing and I wish the author would have given as much thought to the ending as she did to the "meat" of the book.

  • Alisha Siddle
    2019-05-17 03:02

    An intriguing novel set in and around the gunpowder plot. The story is a very intresting take on a well documented time in British history. I found the charachters of Francis and Kate engaging.Chritie Dickason transports the reader to the 17th centrury with a evocative discription of sights and smells of the streets of London.I would highly recomend this book to anyone who enjoys historical novels

  • Kathy
    2019-04-30 01:55

    This one's about Guy Fawlkes & blowing up Parliment in 1605 ... something I didn't really know anything about, so I really enjoyed it. The writing wasn't the smoothest (this author is no Phillipa Gregory!) but it kept my interest and I really learned a lot about the Gunpowder plot and what was going on in England at that time. You know me ... I lived this time in previous lives so I felt right at home!

  • Megan
    2019-05-07 04:05

    I did not finish this book. I couldn't get into it. I got to page 150 and realized there were other books I wanted to read and couldnt get into this one. I enjoyed Kate's story but feel like Francis's story was a snooze fest. I dislike starting books and not finishing them but I am gonna put this one back on the shelf for now and maybe try again later.

  • Sharon
    2019-05-01 06:44

    A find on the New Books shelf at my library. A fictional retelling of the Guy Fawkes plot (I was just discussing this with a Scottish guy at a Halloween party). I'm only 100 pages in so far, but am enjoying the cast of characters and the writing style. I'll be sure to check out the author's other novels on my next library outing.