Harper's fast-paced, suspenseful ninth historical (after 2005's The Fatal Fashione) finds Elizabeth I beset by Spanish antagonism at sea and by political rivals in England, especially the scheming Mary, Queen of Scots, and the rebellious northern lords. While on a summer outing in 1569 with her new ally, Francis Drake, an arrow barely misses Elizabeth, claiming the life of her falconer instead. After another arrow whizzes dangerously between the queen and her herbalist, her royal suspicions of a larger conspiracy solidify. She'll need all her wits and the assistance of her loyal servants to piece out who is the true target of the attacks. While the conceit of Elizabeth herself as an active sleuth requires some suspension of disbelief, readers who buy in will likely find themselves spellbound by the characters, plotting and plausible period detail. Harper is also the author of Inferno (Mass Market, p. 39). (Feb.)
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Elizabeth Tudor, queen of England, is making a summer "progress" through the counties of Surrey and Hampshire to expose herself to the common folk, to take a respite from her problems of state and personal security (after all, Catholics and Protestants in her land and everywhere else aren't getting along), and to test the loyalty of certain of her noble subjects. She will stay for lengths of time at stately homes, one after another all summer long. The problem is that this summer, right off the bat, two people are murdered within feet of her. Was Her Majesty the intended target? Was the malefactor someone in her own entourage? Perhaps her own cousin, the Catholic duke of Norfolk? As in Harper's previous entries in her Elizabeth I series, in this latest installment the queen takes sleuthing into her own royal hands to determine who is causing this piece of unpeacefulness. Historical sophistication blends well with all the necessary elements of good mystery storytelling. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.