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Publisher's Summary

Meet Richard Fitzwarren - an anti-hero with a dubious past, questionable morals, but unswerving loyalties - free copy of series introduction.

Jack Fitzwarren, Richard’s displaced bastard brother, seeks a place at his brother’s side. Impulsive and hot-headed, his attempts to gain his brother’s acceptance and approval often end badly. Finally they are brought head to head when Richard tries to foil a plot against Elizabeth I. 

Can Jack murder his brother to save a woman he’s never met?

Will Richard accept his fate and fight? Or will he run? 

As Tudor England erupts following the death of Edward VI, can one young spy protect his queen? International best-selling author Sam Burnell takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with this magnificent new epic, A Queen’s Spy

In 1553, England is torn apart by religious conflict. Power shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and brotherly love.  

Richard Fitzwarren, caught in the middle of a cruel family feud, wants nothing more than to make his own way in the world. A childhood friend of the Princess Elizabeth, he cannot forget his loyalty in her time of need. Pressured by her sister, Mary, Elizabeth’s continued existence remains precarious throughout her reign. The divide between Catholic Mary and Anne Boleyn’s Protestant daughter Elizabeth is a deep one.  

©2017 Sam Burnell (P)2018 Sam Burnell

Critic Reviews

“It combines murder, mystery, and intrigue in a most masterful way.” (Rita Kroon, author of Letters from the Past)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great Characters

The brothers are great, they arguments jump out at you, and the dialogue between Richard and Jack is often so funny I found myself laughing out loud – a bit embarrassing when you are the northern line on the London Underground. It would make a great BBC drama – you never know!

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Feisty Heroine

Catherine De Bermay is the main female role in the book. Feisty, believable and forced to make some difficult decisions, all of them not the right ones. I am hoping she will be in the next book and that I will find out more of her story.

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Hugely enjoyable

This was a real find – a piece of well told historical fiction based on a true story. Brings to life the times and the men who lived though them.

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A well told story

There is so much packed into this book, and the time is taken to give all the characters sufficient centre stage so that we get to know plenty about there. All have a purpose and a role in this sometimes difficult story.

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Loved the battling brothers.

Jack Fitzwarren was bar far my favorite character. Hot headed, tells it like it is and so impatient. He has had a hard life and with Richard he hopes for better times. He’s not after wealth and riches, for Jack the simpler things in life will do – like a dry bed, food and of course the companionship and approval of his brother.

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Tudor Loves and Lives

Elizabeth needs a hero, and Richard Fitzwarren is as loyal as they get. It takes the listener a long time to reaslise this, as a lot of his actions seem to run counter to those of the usual her type – but in the end he fights to save Elizabeth, to protect his brother and to keep the lady Catherine safe.

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Tudor England Comes Alive

I felt that I could have been there. This book really brings to life the sights and sounds of Tudor England, the descriptions are vivid the research accurate and I had confidence in the facts that were included within this book. It is nice to have a little bit of historical non fiction woven skilfully into a fiction novel, and I didn’t really even notice I was being educated a little along the way.

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A whirlwind of a book

This one just carries you away, I found myself totally engrossed in Richard Fitzwarren’s troubled life. He’s young and tries to steer a path through what are troubled times and keep his own personal sense of honour intact. You initially don’t realise that he is a man of principals and honour until much later on in the book when he stands firmly by Eizabeth and his difficult sibling.

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Elizabeth’s early year explored

We know lots about the Elizabeth after she took the throne but there is very little written about her early years. This book follows an incident in her youth that very well might have be the reason why she never married or fully every trusted men again. I had not heard of this and later on googled it to find out that this was not actually a work of fiction but a true account that had happened and had been accurately reflected in this book.

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Never the twain

The brothers are opposite in almost every way. In terms of appearance, background, character traits. They seem to share nothing at all in common, and this book traces their relationship as they find out that infact they do have a lot in common, and in particular they both find that when the chips are down they are fiercely loyal to one another.

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  • Nancy
  • 07-12-18

I have new fictional hero’s!

The opener said “meet Richard Fitzwarren,” and I am so glad I did. A man with a lot of baggage, and a pain in the rear half brother who he feels he should help as much as he can, even if he is often rash, impetuous and with a chip on his shoulder the size of Doncaster!

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  • Ignacio
  • 07-12-18

Historical Quality

This has been well researched, and the characters, who are it has to be said are not very nice, are believable. They do however redeem themselves and towards the end of the book you really do give a damn about what happens and you are willing for Jack to step in and I found myself wanting to shout “just do something.” Anyway no spoilers, but the pace picks up throughout the book with a massive crescendo of violence and plot.

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  • Pradeep
  • 07-12-18

Complicated – but worth it.

There are plots, counter plots and so many characters. But stay with it, the end will be worth it, and everything finally comes together in the final few chapters. I found if my attention wandered I needed to rewind a bit, but that was fine. As an historical novel this is a high quality set piece with a lot to offer. I have read the next book in the series – A Queen’s Traitor as this was not available on audio, and this is a terrific read – if it comes out on audio I highly recommend it.

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  • Rimsha
  • 07-12-18

Mary Tudor versus Elizabeth Tudor

A complicated time in English history. Henry VIII left the country in a bit of a mire with an infant King and a handful of nobles all vying for control over the young king and the throne. The Seymour brothers were right at the centre of this tug of power and this book clearly describes this interesting piece of history.

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  • Gibson
  • 07-05-18

History novel that delivers

Well written and intelligent fiction with even the odd splash of latin! The book gives you a real sense of the times in which these two men lived, they are indeed men of their times and their dealings with each other and with the women in the story are very much in keeping with the 16th C and not with the 21st C and whilst at times that might seem uncomfortable it does make it entirely beleiveable.

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  • Francisco
  • 07-05-18

Historical Fiction

This is a genre that I look out for so it was nice to find a few works by an author I had not come across before. I found the style to be very Dorothy Dunnett and was reminded much at times of the Lymond Chronicles. The brothers are very well drawn and complex characters, and it’s an interesting listen finding out out their difficult relationship develops as both of them move for tolerating each other to having mutual respect and understanding.

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  • Jamsheer
  • 07-05-18

Two books in one package

A good length listen with two of the mystery trials books in one pack. The narrator is good, and the audio book is clear and easy to listen to. The story was an enjoyable on and keeps you guessing.

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  • Ajmal
  • 07-05-18

Elizabethan Fiction

Elizabethan fiction might actually not be strictly true as this tale takes place very soon after the death of Henry VIII when his young ill son, Edward, takes the throne of England, and the Seymour bothers – Thomas and Edward are vying for control of the throne. Catherine Parr marries Thomas and he sees himself very much as a King in waiting, married now as he is to England’s ex-Queen.

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  • Abufarims
  • 07-05-18

Tudor History novel

This is the first two instalments of the Tudor Mystery Trials series. The first is a short intro that very much sets the scene and introduces some of the main characters. One of the most interesting characters however, Jack, does not appear until the start of A Queen’s Spy – when the two brother’s finally get together the sparks really do start to fly, in more ways than one. Their difficult relationship is the main focus of this novel.