Saturday, 16 November 2019

April Taylor's Tudor Enigma Series

Court of Conspiracy (The Tudor Enigma, #1)Court of Conspiracy by April Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

April Taylor’s Tudor Enigma series are historical fantasy. In this world, Henry VIII’s son by Anne Boleyn survived birth and grew to adulthood. There was no 3rd (4th, 5th or 6th) marriage for Henry VIII, and on his death Henry IX became king.

The book follows the fortunes of of a number of characters as political scheming against the new king unfolds. Key amongst them is Luke Ballard, an apothecary and elemancer. Myth and magic are woven into this alternative history, but it is set within an authentic Tudor setting.

Henry IX must marry and produce an heir. His sister and half-sister, Elizabeth and Mary, might yet snatch history away from him. Anne Boleyn, now dowager queen, is very much in evidence working to protect her son from people, politics and religion.

The twists and turns mirror the complex world of Hampton Court Palace where the story unfolds; royal quarters, twisting corridors, hidden rooms, secret entrances. Luke must navigate the contrast of life within the walls and outside as he strives to do his duty, to use his skills for good, and to keep a step ahead of those who only want to use him as a tool to achieve their own ends. If he could only be sure whose intentions were pure and whose were purely evil, his path through life would be a whole lot easier.

A pacy narrative based on an intriguing premise and set against a meticulously researched historical background.

Taste of Treason (The Tudor Enigma, #2)Taste of Treason by April Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More magic and romance from an alternative Tudor England where Henry IX is on the throne.
This is the second of April Taylor’s Tudor Enigma series.

Enemies of the state target Henry’s wife, Queen Madeleine. In the complex political world of Tudor England it is hard for any royal to know who they can and can’t trust. Dowager Queen Anne turns again to apothecary and elemancer Luke Ballard, who must stretch his powers to their limits when he finds himself up against a conspiracy that encompasses magic stronger than his own.

You might think at times that you know where the story is leading, but it will surprise you as the twists and turns unravel towards their conclusion.

Within the context of magic and alternative history, the harsh realities of life in Tudor times are starkly drawn. A real page turner.

Mantle of Malice (The Tudor Enigma, #3)Mantle of Malice by April Taylor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third of April Taylor’s Tudor Enigma series and a worthy successor to the first two. In this book, Taylor really stretches her wings and takes us into a wider Tudor world, bringing in more of the characters familiar to anyone who has brushed up against this much-studied period of history.

Having thwarted all attempts to dispose of the king's wife, Queen Madeleine, before she could produce a child, Henry IX’s enemies now turn their attention to his son and heir. The child is kidnapped and the ramifications could bring the country to its knees. It becomes vital to know who their real enemies are. Is this a Catholic conspiracy looking to bring England back to Rome or is it something simpler and closer to home? Elemancer, Luke Ballard, who should now be at the height of his powers finds himself struggling and doesn’t know why.

The detailed view of Tudor society at all levels from royalty to pauper gives the feel of looking back into real people’s lives.

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