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Smithfield, settled on the fringes of Roman London, was once a place of revelry. Jesters and crowds flocked for the medieval St Bartholomew's Day celebrations, tournaments were plentiful and it became the location of London's most famous meat market. Yet in Tudor England, Smithfield had another, more sinister use: the public execution of heretics.The Burning Time is a vivid insight into an era in which what was orthodoxy one year might be dangerous heresy the next. The first martyrs were Catholics, who cleaved to Rome in defiance of Henry VIII's break with the papacy. But with the accession of Henry's daughter Mary - soon to be nicknamed 'Bloody Mary' - the charge of heresy was leveled against devout Protestants, who chose to burn rather than recant.

About the Author

Virginia Rounding

Virginia Rounding is an author and book critic, specialising in history ?? especially, ©¬ though not exclusively ?? that of Russia and France. Her last book was a biography of the Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great: Love, Sex and Power, 2006, described by Frances Wilson in the Daily Telegraph as ??a thumping great triumph of a book') , and she will soon be presenting a programme for BBC Radio 3 about music and musicians at Catherine's court (to be broadcast on 29th October 2011) . Catherine the Great was preceded by a study of French courtesans (Grandes Horizontales, 2003, described by Christopher Hirst in the Independent as ??impeccably researched, a flirt of a book, enjoyable and sexy') . Her new biography of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fyodorovna will be published by St Martin's Press in January 2012. Virginia is also the joint author, with Martin Dudley, of a series of books on church administration, and she reviews widely for a variety of newspapers and magazines, including the Daily Telegraph, FT Magazine, Independent, Daily Mail and Moscow Times. She lives in the Hoxton area of London and is an elected councillor (known as a Common Councilman) for the Ward of Farringdon Within in the City of London. In addition to being a writer, Virginia has had a variety of jobs in order to keep body and soul together. She is currently part-time Clerk to the Guild of Public Relations Practitioners, and was for many years administrator of The Consort of Musicke. She is also currently setting up a writing consultancy, specialising in assisting post-graduate students with their writing of dissertations and theses, having enormously enjoyed her time doing precisely this as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at The Courtauld Institute of Art from 2008 to 2011.

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