The Queen’s Devil: (William Constable Spy Thriller series Book 3) by Paul Walker

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Publication date: 27 July 2020

Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Thriller

Publisher: Sharpe’s Books

Print Length: 274 pages

Twitter Handles: @PWalkerauthor @maryanneyarde

Hashtags: #TheQueensDevil #HistoricalFiction #CoffeePotBookClub

BLURB

1583.

William Constable, recently married astrologer and mathematician, has settled into routine work as a physician when he is requested to attend two prisoners in the Tower of London. Both are accused of separate acts treason, but their backgrounds suggest there may be a connection.

Sir Francis Walsingham and Lord Burghley urge William to discover further intelligence from the prisoners while tending their injuries from torture.

The agent’s investigations lead him to the French Embassy, which lies at the heart of a conspiracy which threatens the nation.

Through his enquiries, an unsuspecting William becomes entangled in a perilous web of politicking and religious fervour.

The threat comes from one the most powerful men in the English court – one referred to as the Queen’s Devil.

William faces a race against time to unpick these ties, climaxing in a daring raid on the Embassy.

REVIEW

Let me start by saying that now that I have read The Queen’s Devil, the third William Constable book, I will certainly be reading the first two. The Queen’s Devil is a thrill ride of a mystery, full of interesting, well thought out characters, set in the period involving Elizabeth’s issues with Mary Queen of Scots. Issues that threaten her reign, and which drag the protagonist back into the clutches of the kingdom’s spymaster, Walsingham. The tale moves at a very satisfying page turning pace; deepening the plot as it progresses to an edge of the seat climax. One of the fascinating story lines involves the discussion of the nature of the universe; a discussion that has dire consequences for Constable, It may seem strange to us in the modern era, that there were segments of society in the 16th century who still subscribed to a Biblical model for the Solar System, i.e. the Sun revolves around the Earth, etc, etc. and that you could be tortured and executed for promoting a scientific explanation, i.e. the Copernican model. Then again, given the response to the current COVID-19 pandemic by some governments, maybe we’re not so much more advanced than the clerics making martyrs out of Gio Bruno, et. al. 

As I said above, I will be adding the first two books to my ever growing ‘To Be Read’ pile, though they are all readable as stand alone novels, and I have a hunch that there may be more forthcoming. Good for us. 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author Bio:

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Paul Walker

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first two books in the series – State of Treason and A Necessary Killing – were published in 2019. The third book, titled The Queen’s Devil, was published in the summer of 2020.

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Social Media

Connect with Paul:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PWalkerauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.walker.923171

Amazon Author Page: http://author.to/PaulWalkerbooks

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The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St.John

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  A fascinating tale of the period when England said goodbye to the Tudors and hello to the Stuarts. The protagonist, Lucy, grows up in a household where she is treated with contempt by her guardian and by her scheming sister Barbara. In a time when women had very little say in their futures and where the intricate, backstabbing antics of the Royal Court, Lucy struggles to survive.  Married to an important member of the King’s retinue of courtiers, she finds herself living in the infamous Tower of London, the wife of the Tower Gaoler.

The author paints a vivid picture of life in the early 17th century. I was drawn in by the descriptive, and indeed the educative nature that arises from the pages. Lucy, a woman, dares to formulate and even more daring, lets her opinions known. It was indeed a world dominated by men of noble birth, not very unlike the world we live in now(substitute rich for noble). In Lucy’s words, “I so tire of these court behaviors, where the men who rule think only of their own affairs and not of those of the citizens of this land.” Words that I utter every day.

I chose to read this book not knowing much of the period, at least not from the perspective of the court of King James and his son Charles. I now know a lot more, and if there is one thing I love to do is to learn history. If I can do that and be entertained along the way, then so much the better. The author has done those things while at the same time preparing the way for a sequel. After all of the pain, anguish, fear, and even the joys of her life, Lucy emerges as one of the more interesting characters I have come across in my historical-fiction reading. 5 stars

The Queen’s Mary – In The Shadows of Power by Sarah Gristwood

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Once again I venture into what is a mostly unknown time and subject to me, but that is what I love about English history; there’s just so much of it that I doubt I’ll ever be bored by it.  This is a story about the Scottish Queen Mary but it is told through the eyes of one of her ladies in waiting, Mary Seton.  The fate and fortunes of those of noble birth is always fascinating and in the case of this particular Queen, fatal.  The author kept me on my toes throughout the story as the various intrigues of the Queen; a woman who appears to be out of her depth; especially so when the men she marries turn out to be at cross purposes with the Scottish nobility.  It is also a tale that is filled with the intricacies of court life; of the lives of those who were born and raised to serve the Queen’s Majesty. In Mary Seton, the last of the four Mary’s to still serve the Queen, we find a woman in constant turmoil as to her loyalties and a desire to be free of the demands of her position. The narrative flows at a nice pace as we follow the Queen and her Marys down the path to the inevitable clash with Elizabeth Tudor, Queen of England.  4 stars