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“A masterwork by a skilled craftsman . . . Make a vow to read this book.”—New York Journal of Books
Isabella is barely a teenager when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone her half brother, King Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragón. As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.
Praise for The Queen’s Vow
“A beautifully crafted piece of historical fiction . . . Gortner’s vivid details blend with his deeply intensive research to re-create Isabella and Castile in a way that the reader will find compelling and immersive, bringing not just the Queen but the whole nation to life.”—RT Book Reviews
“A fascinating story . . . Through his creative and spellbinding storytelling, Gortner’s readers come to know Isabella intimately in mind, heart and body as she lives through a tumultuous time, her intense longing to be the determiner of her own unique destiny.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News
“A novel of triumph as Isabella vanquishes her enemies one by one . . . [She is] a very human and appealing character.”—The Roanoke Times
“Politically charged, passionate . . . [a] well-researched, intriguing historical.”—Bookreporter
Gortner (The Confessions of Catherine de Medici) returns with another examination of European royalty in his fifth historical. With older brothers Enrique and Alfonso set to inherit the throne of Castile, Isabella was an unlikely queen. But Alfonso dies in a failed coup, and Enrique proves an ineffectual leader, leaving Isabella the obvious heir. Isabella and Enrique quickly clash when she refuses to marry for his political gain. In an act of rebellion, she weds Ferdinand of Aragon, heir to the impoverished neighboring kingdom. When Enrique dies, Isabella ascends to the throne and rules Castile and Aragon, with Ferdinand by her side, fending off invasions, debts, and other pressures. Along the way she starts a cultural renaissance in Spain and commissions Christopher Columbus, but also allows the Inquisition to resume. Gortner's exhaustive look at Isabella's rise to power eventually trails off and feels directionless. Despite being a compelling female figure in European history, this Isabella is never particularly interesting, nor are the contradictions of her rule examined. Readers will spend much of their time waiting for the pace to pick up.