Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Chalice, on tour July/August 2013

Posted By on May 20, 2013

Chalice coverAbout The Chalice 

Hardcover:  496 pages

  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (March 5, 2013)

The Chalice is a historical thriller told from the point of view of a young woman caught in the crosswinds of time: She has pledged to become a Dominican nun in an England ruled by Henry VIII, who has ruthlessly smashed his country’s allegiance to Rome. In 1538, bloody power struggles between crown and cross threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy 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, each more omniscient than the last. 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 prophecies. As she struggles to forge a life for herself in a country that rejects her faith, she must also decide if her future should be shared with a man–and if so, which of the two men who love her should be chosen.

Faith, its value, and the willingness of supposedly true believers to exploit faith for their own ends become intriguing, multifaceted themes in this book. Bilyeau continues from her first novel the subtle, complex development of Joanna’s character and combines that with a fast-paced, unexpected plot to hold the reader’s interest on every page. From mystical prophets to court intrigue to the challenges of romance and love amidst those who had once sworn themselves to chastity, The Chalice is writ large across England and the Continent as history and supernatural mysticism combine in this compelling thriller.” –Historical Novel Society, June 2013 issue

“English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau’s richly detailed sequel to THE CROWN.”—Parade

“Bilyeau sends her plucky former novice back into the intrigue-laden court of Henry VIII.” —Entertainment Weekly

“THE CHALICE is a compelling and pacey time machine to the 16th Century. And when you’re returned to the present, you’ll have enjoyed an adventure and gained a new perspective on a past you’d wrongly thought to be a done deal.”  — Andrew Pyper, author of The Demonologist

“The novel is riveting, and provides fascinating insight into the lives of displaced nuns and priests during the tumultuous Tudor period. Bilyeau creates fully realized characters, with complex actions and emotions, driving the machinations of these historic personages.” —Romantic Times Book Reviews, Top Pick

“THE CHALICE is an engrossing mix of the complicated politics of the Reformation with the magical elements of the Dominican order, and Joanna—fiery, passionate, determined to honor what she thinks God wants her to do—is a fascinating character. Fans of historical mysteries, Tudor politics and supernatural fiction will all be pleased by the broad scope, quick-moving plot and historical integrity of Bilyeau’s second novel.” —Shelf Awareness

“Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom’s Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s The Heretic’s Wife (2010).” —Booklist

“Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII’s reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed.” —C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow

author photoAbout Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau is a magazine editor who has worked at such publications as Rolling Stone and InStyle and is now the executive editor of DuJour. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She researched and workshopped her first novel, The Crown, for five years before finding an agent and selling it in an auction to Touchstone/Simon&Schuster in 2010. For The Chalice, she traveled to England to do in-depth research into the tumultuous late 1530s of the Tudor era. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

For more information about Nancy and her work, visit her website at

Nancy Bilyeau’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Sunday, June 30th:  Booktalk & More – review of The Crown

Monday, July 1st:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf – review of The Crown

Monday, July 15th:  Bookish Whimsy – review of The Crown

Tuesday, July 16th:  A Library of My Own – review of The Crown

Wednesday, July 17th:  A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, July 18th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf

Friday, July 19th:  Col Reads

Monday, July 22nd:  No More Grumpy Bookseller

Wednesday, July 24th:  Lit and Life

Thursday, July 25th:  Books Without Any Pictures – review of The Crown

Thursday, July 25th:  Book Addict Katie

Monday, July 29th:  Scandalous Women

Tuesday, July 30th:  Laura’s Reviews – review of The Crown and The Chalice

Tuesday, July 30th:  Fiction Addict

Thursday, August 1st:  Bookish Whimsy

Monday, August 5th:  Read Lately

Wednesday, August 7th:  A Library of My Own

Thursday, August 8th:  Literally Jen

Friday, August 9th:  A Reader of Fictions

Monday, August 12th:  Books Without Any Pictures

Monday, August 12th:  Literally Jen – review of The Crown

Wednesday, August 14th:  2 Kids and Tired – preview

Thursday, August 15th:  Patricia’s Wisdom

Wednesday, September 25th:  Booktalk & More


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