Edward, Duke of York, has imprisoned Henry VI and crowned himself King Edward IV. The final battle of the Wars of the Roses has ended. The House of Lancaster has been defeated with 14-year-old Henry Tudor now the only Lancastrian with a claim to the throne. His mother, Margaret of Beaufort, Countess of Richmond is determined to take back the throne. But first she must shield her son from those who wish him dead. Surrounded by enemies, Margaret as well has her henchmen, Christopher Urswicke and Reginald Bray, will do what they must to not only keep Henry alive, but to bring about the downfall of York.
This is the first in a new series by Paul Doherty, who is well known for his historical mysteries…and I have read them all! Love all of them…and love this one now. This first book is actually more historical fiction than mystery. Yes, there is murder, but it doesn’t occur until well into the story, and I thought of it more as a part of the greater plot, than the plot itself. This is a fictionalized version of the events immediately after the end of the War of the Roses and the idea that Margaret Beaufort has vowed to end the House of York, by whatever means necessary. If you’ve read anything about this woman then you know she was intelligent, cunning, and ruthless. But she was playing for high stakes in an arena, and at a time when one mistake could cause your downfall…or death.
Doherty has done his research well, and he uses it to weave a historically accurate tale. I love the way he uses the germ of an idea by the fictionalized Margaret and has it dovetail with the Court politics and intrigue that was occurring at the time. events of the time. The story unfolds from two points of view, Margaret and one of her retainers, Christopher Urswicke. Urswicke, a real historical figure, is a retainer of Margaret’s who must balance his loyalty to Margaret with the desires of those now in power. He makes a great character…extremely clever and calculating…but also very charming. Margaret Beaufort is an extremely fascinating character. The additional characters that make up the Margaret’s comrades, the royal court and its minions are all very well done and make an interesting cast of characters.
Very entertaining, filled with real history, lots of political intrigue, multiple conspiracies, manipulation, spies, and betrayal (and some murder thrown in). I highly recommend this book, and I am very much looking forward to the next in the series.
My Ruling: 4.5/5
Prior Judgements: Steve @ In Search of the Classic Mystery https://classicmystery.blog/2018/06/29/dark-queen-rising-by-paul-doherty/
My thanks to NetGalley and Black Thorn for the advance reader copy made available for my review.