Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Jack is the bastard son. Or so he’s been told. But is he? Or is he really the true heir to the Fitzwarren estate? And would it even matter? It’s the early sixteenth century: King Edward VI is on his deathbed; his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, is being used as a pawn to steal the throne when he does die; his sister, Mary, is waiting in the wings to take the crown and dispose of any who may oppose her; and another sister, Elizabeth, has her own plots brewing. It is a difficult time to be a noble, a difficult time to choose loyalties because being loyal to one royal means being a traitor to another. It's like playing cards and Jack is very good at cards, most of the time. His half-brother, Richard, is always taking the bigger gamble. Will it cost him his life in the end? Perhaps. For Jack, the bigger gamble is always whether or not to trust Richard, to even be associated with him in his lavish schemes of espionage.
Samantha Burnell’s historical novel, A Queen’s Spy: The Fitzwarren Trials, is a highly charged cloak and dagger mystery set in the troubling times that followed the reign of King Henry VIII, an era where siblings had only one goal in mind: seeking and maintaining their own power, even at the cost of family. The plot rolls along rather slowly as the characters are introduced along with their alliances and plots. With the death of King Edward VI, the action picks up and the plots thicken and interweave to make for a very realistic drama. Dialogue and descriptive narrative carry this story along and give the reader a sense of time and place. A thrilling and educational read.