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Author Topic:   Spies
Senior Member
posted 04-13-2006 02:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for deborahknowles   Click Here to Email deborahknowles     Edit/Delete Message
To research my next novel, I would like some info on spying or spies in the 14th century. Any references to books, stories, films, anything would be brill. I have been looking into Babington and Mary Queen of Scots but don't know any stories about spies in the middle ages. Cheers!


posted 05-07-2006 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
I found this
In December 1585, Gilbert Clifford was arrested in Sussex. While being interviewed, Clifford confessed that he had been involved in a Catholic plot to overthrow Elizabeth I. The man in charge of protecting Elizabeth was Francis Walsingham. He offered to release Clifford if he was willing to work as a double-agent. Clifford agreed and went to his contact in the French embassy telling him that he knew how to smuggle letters to and from Mary. He explained that every week a barrel of beer was sent from Burton to where Mary was imprisoned. Clifford arranged to have letters placed in a waterproof package inside the stopper of the barrel.

Another double-agent, Thomas Philips, who was inside the prison, told Mary how she would be receiving letters in her beer barrel. However, before they were placed inside the beer barrel, they were read by Walsingham. More importantly, Francis Walsingham was also able to read the letters that Mary sent to her Catholic friends in France and Spain. In these letters Mary explained how she wanted France and Spain to help her become queen by invading England.

Walsingham allowed the letters to continue to be sent because he wanted to discover who else was involved in this plot to overthrow Elizabeth. Eventually, on 25 June 1586, Mary wrote a letter to Anthony Babington. In his reply, Babington told Mary that he and a group of six friends were planning to murder Elizabeth.
I'll keep looking.

posted 05-07-2006 11:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
Also look here http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/players/player46.html

posted 05-07-2006 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
Also, I saw this movie http://www.talkingpix.co.uk/ArticleElizabeth.html
Maybe you can find something useful in it.

Senior Member
posted 06-03-2006 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Good era! I happen to be collecting movies set in that time.

You might have a look at "The Name of the Rose,"

based on Umberto Eco's book, and set in 1327. The characters are more detectives than spies, but perhaps in the book things are a little less clear cut. The abbot says William is good at uncovering things, and if necessary, in covering things up. It is a classic, and at the very least, is a good excuse to see Sean Connery with a shaved head... and Christian Slater as a little boy.

Also based on a book is "The Reckoning"

The book is "Morality Play," by Barry Unsworthy. set in 1380, and also apparently based on a book, it includes the "King's Justice" going about in a secretive manner, and a plot to assasinate the king. I've been told that the book goes into a lot more detail. Both are rather dark, sinister, and possibly homophobic.


and it's book version by Chrichton set in 1357 includes some people accused of spying, a woman spy, and a man from the future who sets himself up as a medieval soldier. The acts of subterfuge aren't a major issue in the film or book though. The movie was a critical failure, and the acting isn't that great, but all in all it really isn't that hard to watch, especially if you like siege engines. The book is better, but suffers from all the typical drawbacks of any book written by Michael Crichton: Extensive technical details, 300 pages of action-packed excitement followed by 130 pages of random bizarre happenings, and an ending which resolves none of the issues that were brought up in the rest of the book.

Moving into the realms of ridiculous, "The Black Knight,"

supposedly set in 1328 prominently features rebel spies, a plot to kill the entirely fictional "King Leo," and a queen in hiding. There is also a black man from the future, who must masquerade as a messenger from Normandy. I don't reccomend actually watching this movie unless you have a large supply of alcohol and painkillers on hand... or a thirteen year old boy's sense of humor. Thankfully, to my knowledge, no book was made to go along with this travesty.

Well, good luck. My suggestions are entirely fictional, and if you follow them, you will never get those eight hours of your life back... but then again, some movies are just plain fun to watch anyhow.

Senior Member
posted 06-09-2006 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for deborahknowles   Click Here to Email deborahknowles     Edit/Delete Message
The Reckoning is my favourite film of the moment, partly because my fave actor Tom Hardy is in it. He's the one in the dress!! The Name of the Rose is another brilliant film. Haven't seen that one in ages. Thanks for the info, Steve. Perhaps, if you really want to make me happy, you could tell me who'd like to publish my medieval novels?!?


Senior Member
posted 06-27-2006 12:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Well Deb, I'd love to publish them... all you have to do is give me a printing press company. Oh, and I want to stick in some chapters involving an alien invasion.

All times are PT (US)

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