The Heart of a King: The Infamous Reign of Elizabeth I (Tudor Saga #6), by David Field

Eight stars

David Field is back with the final instalment of his Tudor series, which has included many interesting tales about this most influential English monarchical family. After many years of waiting in the shadows, Elizabeth ascends to the throne at a time when England is in disarray. Queen Mary pushed a strong Catholic sentiment across the country, forcing Elizabeth to turn back to what she feels will be a calmer Protestant way of life, accepting private worship of whatever the individual chooses. At greatest issue is a strong alliance for the country, surrounded by powerhouses Spain and France. The easiest way to do this is through a marriage, though Elizabeth is less than eager to give her hand to a man she cannot love. There is one man whose life she is happy to share, but she cannot have Robert Dudley, who is married to another. Elizabeth realises that she cannot keep England isolated and seeks to find a solution that will be effective for all parties. Scotland to the north remains under French rule and there are powerful forces coming from Paris that could cause her many issues. Elizabeth is ruthless in her attempts to protect England, refusing to let the men around her dictate how she will rule. Equally noticeable is Elizabeth’s passion to flex her muscle, keeping her Court in line and not permitting anyone to cross her. With no heir and the years passing, the Tudor era is set to come to an end, something that Elizabeth cannot simply ignored. Looking back on her life and that of her family, Elizabeth must choose who will sit on England’s throne and lead her into a new era, or face obliteration under the boot of a foreign ruler. A wonderful end to a jam-packed series, in which Field takes the reader on an adventure like no other. Recommended to Tudor fans who enjoy a mix of history and fiction, as well as the reader who needs a short piece to tide them over.

I have enjoyed the work of David Field, reading many of his novels when I can find them. His work with the Tudors is of great interest to me, as I thoroughly enjoy this time period in English history. The story seeks to tell of the final Tudor monarch, whose time on the throne was full of controversies as she refused to allow others to dictate her reign or how she ought to act. While England was keen to find new and lasting alliances, Elizabeth refused to sell herself out, thereby leaving the country vulnerable. Field depicts Elizabeth as both a compassionate woman but ruthless when she feels the need to exert control. There are numerous hints at the Elizabeth-Dudley connection, though nothing untoward comes of it. With powerful forces in Europe at the time, Field shows the volatility of England, which comes into play the longer Elizabeth goes without an heir. The story remains strong throughout and the narrative gains momentum as things progress in this important time. Choices made at this time impact much of what is to come in the decades that following, pushing England in directions Field only hints at throughout the narrative. Those who have followed the series will likely enjoy this finale, though I am sure Field has more to come, even if it means a new era and set of strong characters. A mix of chapter lengths and well-presented narratives keep the story from losing momentum and places the reader in the middle of the action. Some will speak of the brevity of these books, but I find them all refreshing, as I can learn a great deal in a single sitting. I am eager to see what is to come and how Field will impress fans yet again.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for a strong series that never lets up. The Tudors live strong in these books and I am pleased to see your dedication as you educate your fans.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: