We’re featuring five historical novels this week – three Tudor thrillers, the very highly rated Silversmith’s Wife and the fictionalised biography of Branwell Bronte.
The queen’s man by Clements, Rory
1582: England is a Judas nest of conspiracy. The bitter conflict between the Protestant and Catholic faiths threatens to tear the country in two. While Queen Elizabeth holds the reins of power, there are many whose loyalty lies with her imprisoned cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. On his first major mission for Sir Francis Walsingham, the young John Shakespeare is ordered to discover conspiracy to free the Stuart queen from Sheffield Castle. All too soon, he realises that the tentacles of the plot reach deep into his native Warwickshire and threaten his own friends and family. His duty lies with Elizabeth – but how far will he go to protect those he loves?
The Tudor vendetta by Gortner, C. W.
November, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by past strife and her ability to rule uncertain. When Brendan Prescott, her intimate spy, returns to court at the new queen’s behest, he soon finds himself thrust into a deadly gambit against his old foe, Robert Dudley. But Elizabeth has an even more dangerous assignation in store for him when her favoured lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, vanishes in Yorkshire
Cromwell’s blessing by Ransley, Peter
‘Cromwell’s Blessing’ is the dramatic story of Tom Neave’s fight for the principles which he holds so dear – democracy, freedom and honour – and his young family, set against the backdrop of the violent conflict of the English Civil War.
The silversmith’s wife by Tobin, Sophia
The year is 1792 and it’s winter in Berkeley Square. As the city sleeps, the night-watchman keeps a cautious eye over the streets and another eye in the back doors of the great and the good. Then one fateful night he comes across the body of Pierre Renard, the eponymous silversmith, lying dead, his throat cut and his valuables missing. It could be common theft, committed by one of the many villains who stalk the square, but as news of the murder spreads, it becomes clear that Renard had more than a few enemies, all with their own secrets to hide. At the centre of this web is Mary, the silversmith’s wife.
Sanctuary by Edric, Robert
Haworth, West Yorkshire, 1848. Following a succession of defeats and failures in his professional and personal life, Branwell Brontë – unexhibited artist, unacknowledged writer, sacked railwayman, disgraced tutor and spurned lover – found himself back in Haworth Parsonage, foundering and directionless, and surrounded by his father and his three sisters, whose own pseudonymous successes – allegedly kept secret from him – were only then becoming apparent. Struggling against the constraints and strictures of these claustrophobic surroundings, and in an effort to buttress himself against the disintegration and collapse of his intolerable and desperate existence, Branwell turned increasingly to the drugs, alcohol and self-delusion which already played an increasingly large part of his short, unhappy life