To Shield the Queen
In this compelling debut of her historical mystery series, Fiona Buckley introduces Ursula Blanchard, a widowed young mother who has become lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. Armed with a sharp eye, dangerous curiosity, and uncanny intelligence, Ursula pledges...
To Shield the Queen
Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her master of horse, Robin Dudley. As gossip would have it, only his ailing wife, Amy, prevents marriage between Dudley and the Queen. To quell the idle tongues at court, the Queen dispatchesUrsula Blanchard to tend to the sick woman's needs. But not even Ursula can prevent the "accident" that takes Amy's life. Did she fall or was she pushed? Was Ursula a pawn of Dudley and the Queen?
Suddenly Ursula finds herself at the center of the scandal, trying to protect Elizabeth as she loses her heart to a Frenchman who may be flirting with sedition against her Queen. She can trust no one, neither her lover nor her monarch, as she sets out to find the truth in a glittering court that conceals a wellspring of blood and lies.
Buckley makes use of some happily anachronistic narration in a lively mystery series kickoff set in 1560. Impoverished but well-born, Ursula Blanchard is blessed not only with the sharp tongue and quick wit characteristic of Elizabethan England but also with a very modern self-awareness. Ursula, newly widowed at 26, also has enough skills--both literary and mathematical--to impress her majesty, Elizabeth I, into taking her on as a lady-in-waiting. Can the young queen, 18 months into her reign, control the schemers and plotters, the sowers of religious dissent and the scandalmongers who permeate her court? To dispel rumors of an unsuitable alliance with her master of horse, Robin Dudley, and to assure the court that she means his ailing young wife no harm, the queen sends Ursula herself to care for the woman. Despite Ursula's vigilance, Amy Dudley dies under suspicious circumstances. Was she murdered? Ursula and her two loyal but sometimes exasperating servants, after some haphazard but fruitful sleuthing, uncover a complex plot that hints at treason. In her first mystery, former journalist and editor Buckley shows a deft hand with strong characterization and creates a plot that spins merrily and wickedly through palace, manor house and intensely beautiful countryside. Ursula is a force to be reckoned with--audacious, intensely loyal and beguiling. Her relationship with the young queen is just one of the elements that make this a promising series debut.