Hunted by a shadowy foe in Bloody Mary’s court, Brendan Prescott plunges into London’s treacherous underworld to unravel a dark conspiracy that could make Elizabeth queen - or send her to her death.
England, 1553. Harsh winter encroaches upon the realm. Mary Tudor has become queen to popular acclaim, and her enemies are imprisoned in the Tower. But when she’s betrothed to Philip, Catholic prince of Spain, putting her Protestant subjects in peril, rumors of a plot to depose her swirl around the one person many consider to be England’s heir and only hope: the queen’s half-sister, Princess Elizabeth.
Haunted by his past, Brendan Prescott lives far from the intrigues of court. But his time of refuge comes to an end when his foe and mentor, the spymaster Cecil, brings him disquieting news that sends him on a dangerous mission. Elizabeth is held captive at court, the target of the Spanish ambassador, who seeks her demise. Obliged to return to the palace where he almost lost his life, Brendan finds himself working as a double agent for Queen Mary herself, who orders Brendan to secure proof that will be his cherished Elizabeth’s undoing.
Plunged into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a mysterious opponent who hides a terrifying secret, Brendan races against time to retrieve a cache of the princess’ private letters, even as he begins to realize that in this dark world of betrayal and deceit, where power is supreme and sister can turn against sister, nothing - and no one - is what it seems.
©2013 C. W. Gortner (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Read from August 11 to 24, 2013
I was sooooo not ready for this book to end.
This was a fun, fast-paced story, as expected; however, there were a few things with it that didn't work quite as well for me as the first book.
The biggest problem I had with this book was not that Brendan found himself succumbing to Sybilla's seductive ways but that he spent most of the book not remembering Kate---not thinking at all about the woman he's supposedly in love with and wants above all else to marry and spend the rest of his life with. The confrontation between Brendan and Kate when they do finally see each other again did not have the emotional impact or resonance it would have if Kate hadn't been forgotten/not mentioned for three-quarters of the book. It's an "out of sight, out of mind" type of scenario, which gives no weight to Brendan's "betrayal" of her with Sybilla. Yes, I understand that men process emotions differently and can compartmentalize their thoughts and emotions; but it didn't ring true that he wouldn't think about Kate at all once he was separated from her.
Another issue I have is the amount of time that's passed between Book 1 and Book 2. When Scarcliff is telling Brendan about how he and Nan scrimped and saved their money to buy the tavern, this seems as if it would be something that would have taken years and years to accomplish, not just a few months. King Edward VI died July 6, 1553 (an event covered in Book 1). Jane Grey "reigned" as queen from July 10 through July 19, 1553 (Book 1) and was then rightfully deposed by Queen Mary I (still in Book 1). Jane Grey was then imprisoned in the Tower. In Book 2 (this book), Jane and the Dudleys, including her husband Guildford, are still imprisoned but, before the end of the book, they are executed, which happened on February 12, 1554. So, somehow, in seven months, Scarcliff and Nan saved enough money to buy a tavern by working as a mercenary/man for hire and a prostitute? I find that really hard to believe.
I'm also very upset by Peregrine's demise. I kept hoping that he'd pop up again and that we'd find out that the poison only made him seem dead but didn't actually kill him. I miss him. :-(
Those few issues aside, I did enjoy the book and look forward to the next installment!
Really enjoyed this new series- looking forward to the next one. Good historical novel without being too "romantic" (yuck).
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