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Musick for the King – An Internet Monk Review

Few pieces of music can touch the soul like Handel’s Messiah. Making this composition into the centerpiece of a historical of historical novel is a task that only a masterful hand dare try. Barrie Doyle delivers a masterpiece of his own in “Musick for the King – A Historical Novel“. In it, we are transported into the life and times of George Frederik Handel, and are privy to his innermost thoughts, as he struggles against the opposition facing him in mid 18th century London.

Handel has become a pawn in the struggle between King George II and the King’s son Frederick, and it has brought Handel to near ruin. We enter into the parallel story of Susannah Cibber, a soprano whose reputation is in ruin because of a messy divorce from a cruel husband. But a libretto written by Handel’s friend Jennens, quite unlike anything written before, provides a chance at redemption, both financially and spiritually for both George and Susannah.

That actual writing of the entire of the oratorio took Handel only twenty four days. Quite fittingly then, “Musick for the King” covers the event in only six of its 207 pages. But what an incredible six pages! We enter Handel’s mind when the book, like the Messiah itself, reaches a crescendo during the writing of the Hallelujah chorus.

Awakened by the noise and fearing the worst, John hurried down the narrow dark back stairs from his loft room. He burst into the composing room just as Handel, laughing with excitement, with tears still streaming down his face, appeared in the entrance to the music room. He stopped when he saw his butler’s frightened expression.

“Nothing, my dear John. It is nothing.” A huge grin spread across his face. “Yes, it is everything.”

He was laughing, crying, and talking at such a pace that his Germanic accent broke through.

“Mein Gott, John. I did think that I saw all heaven in all its glory before me. And the great God himself!” He collapsed to his knees, shaking with ecstasy, hands and arms spread wide. “It was magnificent. The music is magnificent. I am a mere tool. I did not compose such music in all my left, yet my hands were driven by the music in my head. Ach, mein Gott! It is glorious!”

At the end of the chapter, I said to myself. “Mike, you have just experienced greatness. You have to read that chapter again to drink it all in a second time.”

Barrie Doyle is a masterful story teller. His three fictional novels, The Excaliber Parchment, The Lucifer Scroll, and the Prince Madoc Secret all fall into the category of “can’t put down”. Indeed, I read each of them in a single sitting. With “Musick for the King”, Doyle expertly weaves in a story that is as mesmerizing as his novels. Mystery and suspense run like a thread through the entire book. That the book is based on actual events makes it all the more powerful. The time and effort that he puts into researching the times and places of all his novels is self-evident.

Like the Messiah itself, Barrie Doyle has produced a work of art that gets my highest recommendation. I did not receive a promotional copy, but have purchased two copies to give to my music loving family. (I read my wife’s copy for the review!)

All of Barrie’s books are available at and can be signed on request.

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Recent Reviews

Just now, Les and I are reading aloud a wonderful book, a historical novel of Handel, the
circumstances of his writing of the music for Messiah. It is by times soul-touching, hilarious,
informative. I love it, Barrie Doyle!
Erma Tihor, Ontario

In his Oak Grove Conspiracies trilogy, author Barrie Doyle wove tales that combined history, suspense and intrigue. In his latest novel, “Musick for the King,” Doyle uses those same techniques to deftly compose the story behind the writing of one of classical music’s greatest pieces: “Messiah” by George Frederick Handel.

To begin, “Musick for the King” is historical fiction. As Doyle says in his Author’s Reflections: “Naturally some of the peripheral characters are fictional. However, by and large most of the people in this novel are real. I have tried to characterize them as history has recorded them.” So if you’re looking for a biography, go elsewhere. But if you’re looking for an exciting tale about a seminal work of art, “Musick for the King” needs to top your to-read list.

Structure along the lines of “Messiah,” with three parts and many movements (chapters), Doyle opens with a Handel who is fighting illness (gout and the after effects of a stroke), the prospect of debtor’s prison. Handel also has detractors, including Frederick (the Prince of Wales) who are determined to ruin his reputation.

Handel’s mood begins to lift when the Duke of Devonshire, who is also the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, invites Handel to the emerald isle to lead a series of concerts. And when Charles Jennens unexpectedly brings Handel a libretto based on passages from the Bible, Handel becomes so inspired, he scores the music for a sacred oratorio in 24 days.

With plans to premiere the work, which Jennens simply titled “Messiah,” in Ireland as a fundraiser, Handel faces more opposition over the venue (a public music hall instead of a church), his choice of a singer (a woman who had been the subject of a sex scandal in London) and the material (whispered by some as blasphemous). Handel and his supporters eventually overcome the objections and the oratorio is performed to resounding reviews. This scenario is repeated after Handel returns to London and, again, sees “Messiah” successfully performed and hailed as a masterpiece by none other than King George II.

Doyle relies on his experience as a communicator (journalism and public relations) to pen a story that keeps the reader engaged and turning the pages. Once you begin reading this novel, you won’t want to put it down until you’ve finished.

Robert White

Arts Connection 103.9 Kitchener

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REVIEW: First you write the book, then you market it


Barrie Doyle and I are having our second annual lunch at Flynn’s Traditional Irish Pub on the corner of Main and Robert streets in Penetanguishene.

I remember the place from the 1950s when it was the Toronto Dominion Bank, its liquid assets then somewhat different than they are today.

We are each working our way through a Blarney Burger. Fried egg, Irish rasher, cheddar and Flynn’s sauce — an Irish breakfast on a bun.

Barrie is an old Toronto Telegram hand, coming to the paper in the 60s just about the time I left. He was with the Toronto Star in Washington during the Nixon years, and went on to public relations and teaching.

He is now retired (although that is hardly the word for someone who has just recently turned out three successful novels) and living at Balm Beach.

Ebullient, full of good humour and good nature, interested in everything from travel, to journalism, to politics, he is the ideal lunch companion.

We share a lot in common, including our alma mater (Ryerson) and our Welsh/Irish heritage.

His most recent novel, The Prince Madoc Secret, was to be the third of a trilogy, The Oak Grove Conspiracies, but his fans are demanding another book, so the trilogy is evolving into a series.

The books span time and place, from the 12th century to the 21st, from Wales to Istanbul, the United States, Canada, and a myriad of places in between.

They are full of action and intrigue, with heroes turned villains, and villains heroes.

These days, authors are not only expected to write books, but to market them as well, and Barrie has been on the road a lot lately doing exactly that — Mississauga, Alexandria, Virginia, Washington, D.C.

This Saturday afternoon (Sept. 29) he will be at Chapters in Peterborough. He will probably have with him a four-foot replica of a 700 AD broadsword.

It is a great prop.

But he has learned that he can’t take it everywhere.

“I think it is better that I leave it at home when I am going into the States these days,” he says, taking another bite of his Blarney Burger.

Sylvia Sutherland is a journalist and was Peterborough’s mayor from 1985 to 1991 and from 2007 to 2016.

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Tiny author brings old legends back to life

Original Article – (

‘The Prince Madoc Secret’ part three of a trilogy

Historical legend is the pearl in the oyster of a Barrie Doyle novel.

The Tiny Township resident published his third novel, The Prince Madoc Secret, this month and is planning book signings across the region this summer.

“All three books are modern-day thrillers with their roots in legends,” said Doyle.

His first book, The Excalibur Parchment, published in 2015, revolves around the legend of the Excalibur sword.

His second book, The Lucifer Scroll, published in 2016, is based on the legend of the Spear of Destiny that was thrust into Christ’s side when he was on the crucifix.

The Prince Madoc Secret is built on the legend of Prince Madoc of Wales who settled in America in 1170, bringing Christian antiquities with him.

While the books are part of the Oak Grove Conspiracies, they can be read individually.

“It’s the same basic characters. I’ve written them to be three standalones, but there are times in each book that refers back to something that happened in the previous one,” Doyle said.

The retired journalist and public relations professional said he spent his career “telling other people’s stories.”

But it wasn’t until a family crisis — one of his two grandsons was having heart surgery and had a 50/50 chance of survival — that he began writing his own stories.

“I had to sit down and get my mind off the operation and I started writing the (first) book.”

Fortunately, his grandson survived and is doing well. The publisher at World Alive Press in Winnipeg suggested Doyle create a trilogy.

“I thought ‘good grief I have to come up with more stories’. Then I thought, there’s lots of legends out there.”

Doyle, 71, went back to his birth land of Wales to provide an accurate setting for The Lucifer Scroll. His villains are druids seeking antiquities as a means to political power.

“They are zealous, power-mad druids who will kill for power. My druids are terrorists.”

The books sell for $25. They are available at Georgian Bay Books in Midland, The Reading Room in Penetanguishene, Chapters, and online with Amazon.

For more information go to Doyle’s website at or email him at



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The latest, but hopefully not the last, of the Oak Grove Conspiracies series

Original Article –

As Micheal Corleone said, in The Godfather: Part III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

In The Prince Madoc Secret, book three of the Oak Grove Conspiracies series by Barrie Doyle, just as journalist Stone Wallace and the historian father-daughter team of Huw and Mandy Griffiths think they’ve rid themselves and the world of the Druids, they discover otherwise.

Two deaths set the stage for the rest of the book’s events: the successful assassination of a key political figure in Wyoming and an unsuccessful attempt on Wallace in London, England. And, while seeming unrelated, Wallace and the Griffiths are offered an assignment from the BBC to produce a documentary about a long-forgotten Welsh royal, Prince Madoc. Research into the prince, who supposedly discovered America before Christopher Columbus, leads the trio to discover a Druid plot behind Prince Madoc’s disappearance and their current circumstances.

Author Barrie Doyle has the ability to surprise the reader with unexpected twists and turns.

As with each of the books in the Oak Grove Conspiracies, once the Druids are involved, danger, seen and unseen, abounds. Doyle is one of the best action adventure writers there is. I agree with the the reviewer compared him favorably to Tom Clancy (creator of the Jack Ryan stories): Doyle has the ability to draw a reader into the plot, cheer for the heroes and hiss at the villains. He has the ability to surprise the reader with unexpected twists and turns. As cliched as it may sound, The Prince Madoc Secret is a page-turning, keep-you-up-at-night novel that you just have to keep reading until you’re finished.

The Prince Madoc Secret can be read as a stand-alone adventure, but it really helps to have read the other books in the series: The Excalibur Parchment and The Lucifer Scroll. The background of the previous Druid plots isn’t essential because Doyle fills in gaps, but if you enjoyed The Prince Madoc Secret, you’ll want to find out what happened before.

When I interviewed Doyle at the release of The Excalibur Parchment, he said he planned on a trilogy. With this third book, and a few cryptic curves thrown in, I’m hoping for a fourth installment…and maybe even more. As a fan, I say let the Oak Grove Conspiracies adventures continue.

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Feedback from Readers


“I’ve never read anything Arthurian, but we were given this book as a gift and read it aloud as a family. We were immediately swept into another world that we found absolutely irresistible. Each chapter left us craving for more, anxious for the next time we could imbibe in this feast of words. Written almost like a screenplay for a thriller, we loved all the rich colourful details that transported us from one epic scene to another. The second book is on our Christmas list, and we can hardly wait. This book, and likely the rest in the series, must certainly be made into movies.

Josh Tiessen, artist


“The reader hops from country to country in a nail-biting drama that pulls back the curtain on the little-known historical facts surrounding one of Hitler’s obsessions. Here, fact is more intriguing than fiction and makes The Lucifer Scroll one of those books you can’t put down. I keep waiting for the militia to come to the rescue of the weak and end the tension but it goes on. I sense a parallel to the events of history today. Perhaps the sequel will tell all or leave me wondering.”

Sandra White


After reading a few reviews for The Excalibur Parchment by Barrie Doyle, we agree that it would be a great addition to our collection.  We have also ordered book 2 in the series – The Lucifer Scroll.  We hope you enjoy these exciting new reads.

Richmond, BC Public Library

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Arts Connection: The Lucifer Scroll – Review

What do you get when you throw together an investigative reporter, a university professor, a historian, Druids, Nazis, a host of alphabet agencies like the CIA and an ancient sacred artifact?

The Lucifer Scroll – the second book in Midland, Ontario author Barrie Doyle’s The Oak Grove Conspiracies. Doyle’s sequel toThe Excalibur Parchment, literally starts with a bang when protagonist Stone Wallace becomes the subject of an assassination attempt.

The suspense continues as readers are taken to Istanbul where historian and archeologist Huw Griffiths, searching through the rubble of a long-forgotten church, discovers clues that may lead to the discovery of the Holy Lance, the spear that pierced Jesus Christ’s side.

Griffiths’ daughter, history professor Myfanwy (Mandy) – who gains an assistant that she doesn’t want – and the two men are drawn into an adventure of intrigue that leads them, individually and together, to Niagara Falls, Georgian Bay, New Mexico, England, Austria and Wales. Along with their allies, the trio find themselves pitted against modern-day Druids and, at one point, Nazis, dodging the real and spiritual weapons aimed at them in the race to find the scroll that will lead to the lance.

Barrie Doyle creates a story where evil is evil, good is good and you have finish the book to find out which wins

I’ve been reading a lot of mystery and suspense novels lately and The Lucifer Scroll was one of the most readable of the bunch (second only to a couple of Ian Rankin novels). The Lucifer Scroll begins with an explosive opening and the action doesn’t let up until the end. Even when Lord Greyfell and his wife, Nees, are brought in to explain the spiritual danger of the Druids, Doyle imbues the expositional material with an urgency reminiscent of Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness.

Like most books in a series, it may help if you’ve read The Excalibur Parchment, especially as it relates to the relationships between Huw and Mandy Griffiths and Stone Wallace. But there’s enough backstory in The Lucifer Scroll that it can be read as a stand-alone book.

What Doyle has excelled at is crafting a tale of intrigue that incorporates temporal and spiritual battles that seem to transcend time. He creates a story where evil is evil, good is good and you have to read to the end of the book to find out whether good or evil wins – even if it means you end up staying up until the wee hours of the night to find out.


To find out more about Barrie Doyle and The Lucifer Scroll head to

To listen to an Arts Connection interview that explores the writing of The Lucifer Scroll head to

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Midland Mirror: Tiny Township author launching new book

Tiny Township author launching new book

Midland Mirror

NORTH SIMCOE – A Tiny Township author’s new suspense thriller will receive its official launch Sunday in Penetanguishene.

“The Lucifer Scroll” by Barrie Doyle centres on the hunt for a legendary and powerful artifact. The book takes readers across the globe from Turkey to South Wales and even Midland.

The launch will take place from 2-4 p.m. at The Reading Room.

“The Lucifer Scroll” brings together characters from Doyle’s earlier work “The Excalibur Parchment,” published in 2014.

More information can be found at

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(Below Left) Book Release Review – Springwater News, November 6, 2014


(Above) Georgian Shores Seniors Speaker Series – Book signing and meet the author!


(Above) Book Release Review – Springwater News, November 6, 2014