I am now a condemned traitor . . . I am to die when I have hardly begun to live. Historical expertise marries page-turning fiction in Alison Weir’s enthralling debut novel, breathing new life into one of the most significant and tumultuous periods of the English monarchy. It is the story of Lady Jane Grey–“the Nine Days’ Queen”–a fifteen-year-old girl who unwittingly finds herself at the center of the religious and civil unrest that nearly toppled the fabled House of Tudor during the sixteenth century. The child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she is merely a pawn in a dynastic game with the highest stakes, Jane Grey was born during the harrowingly turbulent period between Anne Boleyn’s beheading and the demise of Jane’s infamous great-uncle, King Henry VIII. With the premature passing of Jane’s adolescent cousin, and Henry’s successor, King Edward VI, comes a struggle for supremacy fueled by political machinations and lethal religious fervor.
Unabashedly honest and exceptionally intelligent, Jane possesses a sound strength of character beyond her years that equips her to weather the vicious storm. And though she has no ambitions to rule, preferring to immerse herself in books and religious studies, she is forced to accept the crown, and by so doing sets off a firestorm of intrigue, betrayal, and tragedy. Alison Weir uses her unmatched skills as a historian to enliven the many dynamic characters of this majestic drama. Along with Lady Jane Grey, Weir vividly renders her devious parents; her much-loved nanny; the benevolent Queen Katherine Parr; Jane’s ambitious cousins; the Catholic “Bloody” Mary, who will stop at nothing to seize the throne; and the protestant and future queen Elizabeth. Readers venture inside royal drawing rooms and bedchambers to witness the power-grabbing that swirls around Lady Jane Grey from the day of her birth to her unbearably poignant death. Innocent Traitor paints a complete and compelling portrait of this captivating young woman, a faithful servant of God whose short reign and brief life would make her a legend.
A Trip back in time.
I enjoyed this book very much. Kept me involved from the very start. The audio performance was very well done. I plan on listening to more of Alison Weir's books.
WAY TOO LONG FOR SO SMALL A STORY
For 40+ years, I voraciously read all I could find about British, Russian, French, Chinese and Japanese royalty. A first-class all-expense-paid birthday/business trip to London at age 42 was bliss! My in-flight reading material was about the 6 wives of Henry VIII and the "drive-thru" coronation/abdication of Edward VIII. Oh, happy day! All of these years I preferred only non-fiction accounts. Well, I digressed recently, reeled in by iTunes' audiobook Previews, which gives the buyer just enough to become hooked. The perpetrator: "The Boleyn Inheritance" by the prolific Philippa Gregory, which was unbelievably fantastic. Both the writing and the narration were so good that I knew I was about to give iTunes my next mortgage payment, buying as many of the non-fiction historical audiobooks that I could. Thinking that I would be getting more bang for my buck with this 18+ hour book, I thought that "Innocent Traitor" would be a good choice for my second foray into non-fiction stories of European royalty. WRONG!!
Now, this was a good story. But it could have been told in 2 hours. This is a book about 16 year-old marginally interesting alleged heir to the throne who spent only 9 days as Queen of England. I had to plod through 15 hours of her life waiting for the death of her predecessor and distant relative, King Henry VIII. Most of the same events were told by three or four different people, without much variation in their accounts. Just about everything was already known to be fact - since it was fiction, one would think that the writer would take some "literary license" and make up a story or two and fluff up the rest. Ms. Weir did a lot of research because her story-telling was on point. But the five or so female narrators sounded so much alike that the book became confusing after a while. They all failed horribly in disguising their voices to be someone else - a lady-in-waiting, an aunt, sister, mother, BFF - even several males. It all fails miserably, serving only to confuse the listener. When a real male finally came on the scene, he just sounded out of place. If you asked any one of the characters in this book to tell you what time it was, they would tell you how to make a clock - in painfully detail-oriented descriptions, not missing a single screw or spring! I found myself falling asleep as the narrator droned on and on in a monotonous tone. What was particularly out of place was the Lady Jane Gray "tellin' it all" at the age of FOUR! I know that the people in the 16th century had an average life-span of 36 years, with women being married off at 14 and giving birth within 9 months of marriage. But no one could carry on such "grown folks talk" at the same time their permanent teeth were coming in!
The teenaged Lady Jane Grey was a pawn, used by her elders, including her vain and cold mother. I admit that she had her place in British history but not 18 hours worth! This book is less about her short and tragic life than it is about Henry VIII, his 6 wives, and his children Elizabeth, Mary, and Edward. I went back to Philippa Gregory, downloading "The Constant Princess" which was another great "read". Stay away from this one - my first clue should have been 18 hours about an adolescent whose only claim to fame was a stupid attempt by her relatives and others to put her on the throne of England against the grown Mary I and the wily Elizabeth I.
This book is one of my absolute favorites. Alison Weir is an historian of Tudor times and her first historical fiction foray is brilliant!! I recommend this novel to anyone, especially those into this time period. Weir is much more historically accurate then Phillipa Gregory and I think that's why I love her so much!!!!