When the Heavens Fall

A Winslow Breed Novel

When the Heavens Fall


Brandon Winslow would rather gamble and frequent taverns than attend church. So how does he find himself at the forefront of the resistance to Bloody Mary’s attempt to eliminate—at sword’s point, if need be—the Protestant faith?

During the reign of Mary I of England—"Bloody Mary"—young Brandon Winslow (son of Stuart, protagonist of Honor in the Dust, the first book in the Winslow Breed series) finds himself in dire straits. After being flogged and then drummed out of the military for seducing the wife of his commanding officer, he sinks into a life of gambling and petty fraud along with Lupa, the fair gypsy woman who nursed him back to health.

After Mary weds Prince Philip of Spain, she begins to work in earnest to establish Catholicism as the only faith in England—and to execute Protestants. When Brandon sees several people burned at the stake in London for their faith, the experience changes him: Even though he has been only a nominal member of the Church of England, he finds himself compelled to stop those responsible for these outrages—and to do so before his uncle Quentin, a pastor, is himself burned at the stake. Unfortunately, the only way to save Quentin and so many others is to make Princess Elizabeth (who is herself in danger of dying at Mary’s hand) queen. And that, of course, would be treason. Punishable by death.

But then, Brandon has always been a gambler . . .
  • Howard Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416587477 | 
  • May 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for When the Heavens Fall includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. 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.


Set in Tudor-age England, When the Heavens Fall tells the epic tale of Brandon Winslow, a devious and troubled young man struggling to find his way and place in the world.

At the same time Mary takes the throne as Queen of England, the mischievous and young Brandon decides to become a soldier, much to the dismay of his spiritually sound and noble parents, Stuart and Heather Winslow. It does not take long after enlisting for Brandon’s womanizing, gambling, and drinking to get him into serious trouble.

Thought to be dead by his parents and the soldiers who knew him best, Brandon finds himself wandering around futilely, struggling to survive among vagrants. He befriends a pair of Spanish gypsies and makes a small fortune moving between towns and playing card games with rich gentlemen. Brandon soon hears of Queen Mary’s zealous and bloody behavior, determined to return England to Catholicism.

When rumor gets around that Mary is beginning to execute Protestants on the basis of their religion, Brandon knows hi see more

More Books from this Author

As the Sparks Fly Upward
Honor in the Dust

About the Author

Gilbert Morris
Photograph courtesy of author

Gilbert Morris

Born in 1929 in Forrest City, Arkansas, Gilbert Morris earned a B.A. and an MsE from Arkansas State University and a Ph. D. from the University of Arkansas. Since 1986 he published 205 novels and been awarded five Silver Angel Awards and a Christy Award. Dr. Morris lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama, with his wife.