Monday, May 6, 2019

"A Queen's Spy" by Sam Burnell

Young King Edward of England lay dying, and with his death Lord Northumberland was about to lose the power over the country that he had obtained through his manipulation of the young monarch. In an effort to retain his control over the crown, Northumberland attempted to have Edward change the succession.

Instead of the having the crown passing from Edward to Henry VIII’s eldest daughter Mary (a devout Catholic) and should she not bear any children then to her sister Elizabeth (a protestant), through the altered succession, the crown would first pass instead to Lady Jane Grey and any children she should bear. Let’s just say that in the end, things didn’t quite turn out as Northumberland had hoped they would.

This was a stressful time for everyone involved. Religion was very important to the direction the country would take, and which religion that would be depended on who sat on the throne. Quite often, attempts to control which Queen would be the one ruling the country ended poorly for those attempting to influence the outcome.

This book seems to center mainly on the Fitzwarrens and their attempts to help influence the outcome of who will ultimately control England’s future. Richard Fitzwarren appears be willing to support whichever side will offer him the biggest reward for his help and support. Yet at the same time, his friendship to Elizabeth seems to compel him to seek to protect her. Which side he is truly supporting (Mary’s, Elizabeth’s, or merely his own), remains to be seen.

While I did enjoy reading this book, I do need to warn the reader that it is a very long book (778 pages to be exact.) It could have used a bit more editing/proofreading in spots. Parts of the story seemed to move more quickly than others, but the intertwining stories of the main characters and how they related to each other throughout was interesting enough to keep me reading. Though I will admit that at times I did feel the book continued for longer than I might have prefered, I’m not really sure where the author could have attempted to break this into two separate books. It may not realistically have been possible as ultimately it was truly one story.

Would I continue on and read the next book in the series? Most likely. Despite this one being a very long book, the characters and their interactions were quite interesting and did hold my attention enough to make me want to know more. And the ending of this book also held my interest and left me wanting to know more about the Fitzwarrens, as well as their relationships with Mary, and Elizabeth.

So ultimately, yes I did enjoy this book. If you don’t mind long historical fiction novels, chances are you will too. But if, on the other hand, you prefer shorter novels then very likely this one might not be your cup of tea.

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