The Tsar's Locket

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
308 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

The Tsar's Locket is written by Ken Czech. In 16th century-London, disgraced sea captain Julian Blunt is coming to terms with losing his young wife when he is called upon by Queen Elizabeth to undertake a dangerous mission. Her request that he delivers a betrothal locket to Tsar Ivan (Ivan The Terrible) comes as a complete surprise since he was stripped of his command for converting to Catholicism. However, for the sake of forging good trading relations with Russia, he agrees. He is joined by Jessandra Calcross, a strong and fearless member of the queen's court on the hazardous journey across the Baltic Sea. The journey is fraught with dangers as they realize someone on board is determined to sabotage their mission. As they enter Russia, they face a series of life-threatening events as they try to flee the war zone between Poland and Russia, whilst evading the forces trying to stop Ivan's impending marriage. As Julian enters Moscow he faces further perils and realizes that delivering the locket is not as important as he once thought.

The Tsar's Locket by Ken Czech is a gripping novel that has everything I look for in historical fiction. It is detailed and thoroughly researched with strong unique characters that jump from the page and keep your attention until the end. Tsar Ivan (Ivan the Terrible) was depicted so well and his behavior was truly chilling. I loved the developing relationship between Julian and Jess; it was innocent but with simmering chemistry. The conflicts throughout the novel were perfectly placed and made the entire story completely engaging. The main storyline was supported really well with the sub-plot of Julian coming to terms with his feelings of grief and guilt. The descriptive narrative was superb. I literally felt transported into the 16th century. There were twists and turns throughout but the climactic twist at the end really caught me off guard. If you love a really good story with action, suspense and romance then I recommend this novel.

K.C. Finn

The Tsar’s Locket is an immersive work of historical fiction set in the sixteenth century and was penned by author Ken Czech. Suitable for most readers due to moderate levels of violence and one mild sexual scene, the adventure takes place on an epic journey across the Baltic Sea when the Queen of England entrusts a captain and a messenger to deliver a locket to the heart of Russia. Captain Blunt and Jessandra Calcross heed the call, amid the threats of assassins from the papacy and the terror that awaits them when they encounter Ivan IV himself in the dangerous city of Moscow. What follows is a stunning adventure that spans many themes and genres.

This is a fully rounded historical novel that gives plenty of content for readers of all preferences. The emotional storyline and developing bond between the central characters are charming and effectively well written, as Julian Blunt decides between his future as a captain or his future with the resilient messenger Jessandra. The historical backdrop to the tale is also fleshed out with gorgeous details and cinematic style descriptive work, enabling author Ken Czech to show off some real knowledge and a true sense of atmosphere about the period. Add to this the real excitement of a perilous journey across the sea, well-developed villains, a political versus religious thematic arc and some authentic yet accessible dialogue, and you have a truly excellent novel that readers will simply devour. Overall, The Tsar’s Locket is a highly recommended read.

Rabia Tanveer

The Tsar's Locket by Ken Czech is the story of love, of finding forgiveness and second chances. Julian Blunt is not a man who goes running to people who hurt him in the past, but duty is duty. He used to be a sea captain, a man feared and respected for his talents, but the hurt of the past is too much to let go. So when he is approached by a messenger of the Queen, he knows this is something that he cannot avoid. The Queen has a task for him that includes protecting Jessandra Calcross and a locket that needs to be delivered to Tsar Ivan in Russia. It may seem like an easy task for most, but Julian knows the perils of the sea. Sooner than he expects, he is racing against time and fearsome opponents who want nothing more than to silence them both and prevent the locket from reaching its destination. It is up to Julian to find a way to keep the locket and Jess safe.

The attention to detail is incredible in this story. I had a hard time pulling myself away from the book, but I wanted didn’t want to rush reading it as well. Julian is a very complicated character, he isn’t shy of showing how he truly feels (except when he is with Jess) and isn’t afraid of the situations that he is in. He remains cool and makes sure to keep his head straight. I wanted to know more about the elusive Tsar. I wanted to know what made him “Terrible” and couldn’t wait to see him in action. The hype behind him was incredible and the overall build-up of the tension and action kept the story going. I enjoyed the setting, the play-by-play of action and the chemistry between Jess and Julian was off the charts. This is an astonishing story that had me hooked from the beginning and I truly hope the author has more plans for Julian because this novel ticks all the right boxes for a fantastic series.