It is 1588, and the showdown between England and Spain has finally come. Elizabeth and her island kingdom stand alone against the strongest country in Europe. Yet after that triumph, she cannot rest. There are many other challenges to her, and the ever-hanging question of the succession to the childless queen. Surrounded by such larger-than-life characters as Drake, Shakespeare, the Earl of Essex, Raleigh, and Francis Bacon, the queen proves bigger than all of them.
Her cousin and rival, Lettice Knollys, mother of the Earl of Essex and widow of Robert Dudley, who was Elizabeth’s love and soul mate, provides a dark counterpoint to the glittering aura of Elizabeth’s legend. Bound together in a love-hate relationship, the two women pursue their linked destinies.
Unlike many biographical novels, this one doesn't try to follow the subject from birth to death, but chooses a unique slice of Queen Elizabeth the First's reign to focus on. The supporting characters are interwoven into the story in a way that is both reasonably historically accurate and good storytelling, making it feel like you've stepped back into the intrigue of Elizabethan England!
I really like how a second voice, that of Lettice Knollys, fleshes out the story and provides keen insights into how the intrigues progress. This book contains everything a good novel should and more and is wrapped in the veil of well researched and well developed history. If you, like me, are a fan of Tudor England then this book is a must read!
This was my first glimpse of the novels of Margaret George, but it certainly won't be the last. I am looking forward to finding her other novels including The Autobiography of Henry VIII and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.
About the Author:
Margaret George is the author of six epic biographical novels, allNew York Timesbestsellers, featuring larger than life characters like Henry VIII and Cleopatra. Although painstakingly accurate historically, their real focus is the psychology of the characters. We know what they did, we want to know why. Her latest release isElizabeth I.
Margaret’s research has taken her from the islands of Scotland to the temples of Upper Egypt, with experiences that include snake-keeping and gladiatorial training.
She lives in Wisconsin and Washington DC. Interests include reptile conservation efforts, Middle Eastern dance (aka bellydancing), and archeology.