The Chalice

The Chalice

A Novel

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BETWEEN THE CROWN AND THE CROSS STANDS ONE WOMAN

IN 1538, ENGLAND is in the midst of bloody power struggles that threaten to tear the country apart. Aristocrat-turned-novice Joanna Stafford knows what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment when she is caught up in an international plot targeting the king. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom, are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies. . . .
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  • Touchstone | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476708669 | 
  • March 2014
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THE CHALICE by Nancy Bilyeau

In this sequel to Nancy Bilyeau’s acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford continues her adventures.

Read an Excerpt

Chalice PROLOGUE
When preparing for martyrdom on the night of December 28, 1538, I did not think of those I love. Hiding in a narrow cemetery with seven men, all of us poised to commit violence at Canterbury Cathedral, I instead stared at the words carved into the tombstone I huddled behind: “Here lieth interred the body of Brother Bartholomeus Giles, of Christ-Church Priory, Canterbury, who departed this life on the sixteenth of June, 1525.”

How fortunate was Brother Bartholomeus. He prayed, sang, labored, and... see more
Chalice 1 CANTERBURY SEPTEMBER 25, 1528
Before the lash of the wind drew blood, before I felt it first move through the air, our horses knew that something was coming.

I was seventeen, and I had made the long journey down to Canterbury from my home, Stafford Castle. At the beginning of each autumn my father traveled to London to attend to family business, but he had not wanted me or my mother to accompany him. A bout of sweating sickness struck the South that summer and he feared we’d lose our... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Gold includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Nancy Bilyeau. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

In 1538, as England is torn apart by violent power struggles between crown and cross, Joanna Stafford, a young novice whose monastic life has been dismantled, finds herself unwittingly drawn into a dark plot targeting King Henry VIII. With great reluctance, Joanna assumes her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each providing another vital piece of this strange, otherworldly puzzle. Ultimately, she is swept up into an international intrigue against her King and country. Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII, as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands, hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly foretellings.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1) What role does prophecy play in The Chalice? How does this idea of prophecy drive much of the book? What are your beliefs regarding seers and prophecies?

2) Why do you think Bilyeau uses a young novice like Joanna Stafford to carry out such important historic weight as to save Henry V see more

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