Saturday, 12 May 2012

Book Review: The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory

Synopsis - The savage rivalry of the daughters of Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I, echoes that of their mothers, Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn.  Both princesses have sworn to fight by any available means to win the crown and the hearts of the people, and to command the future of the kingdom of England.

Into this court seething with intrigue comes a young girl, a holy fool.  Hannah, a hidden Jew on the run from the Inquisition, is herself no stranger to evasion and secrecy.  She knows only too well that the world is a treacherous place.  Entangled in the schemes of handsome traitor Robert Dudley, Hannah is sent to spy on Princess Mary and discovers a woman of deep principle, driven by a fatal desire to turn her people back to the true faith.  Meanwhile, the unscrupulous Elizabeth is waiting to take advantage of any mistake her sister makes.

Caught between the sisters, between her infatuation for Dudley and her duty to her family, her need to explore her own gifts and her fear of the unknown, Hannah must find her own way through a world of terrifying risks.  From the Tower of London to the siege of Calais, she is witness and player in these tumultuous times, a time when religion is a death sentence, when science and magic are one, and when love is the greatest danger of all.

Review - The Queen's Fool, another wonderful mix of fiction and fact from Philippa Gregory.  Fact in so far as our history books tell.  Gregory is wonderful at her craft of mixing this into a tale that is readable, probable and keeps the reader interested unto the very end.  The Tudor tales are told with such intrigue, spies everywhere, lack of trust all around - not much different today, I am sure although with the complete separation of sovereignty the government which rules our country, our royal family are more concerned on hanging onto their title and role in the kingdom these times.

I find it quite interesting that Dr John Dee is getting so much coverage nowadays.  Watching Later with Jools, I learnt that Damon Albarn's new outfit are called Dr Dee after this very same man.  And on the show Albarn showed an ancient book with historical facts about John Dee.  I guess it was coincidence that the very book I was reading at the time focussed a fair bit on this incredible man, however I was quite surprised at this.
If you like historical fiction and the reign of the Tudor's do read this wonderful tale.  4*
CN 121962 Pub 2003 Quality Paperbacks Direct

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