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: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons

Justice for the Cardinal (Tudor Saga #3), by David Field

Eight stars

David Field continues his new Tudor series, perfect for fans of this time in history. The focus turns to Thomas Cromwell, the endearing close advisor of King Henry VIII. With Anne Boleyn on the throne, there is talk that she might be losing her lustre. With only a female heir to her name, Henry is getting tired of waiting and there are whispers about Anne’s past infidelities that could ruin Henry’s future. Cromwell does what he knows best, spreads loose facts mixed with rumours to create an insurmountable case against Anne. Cromwell also learns some disturbing news about the line of secession before the current Henry’s father, which could, if it comes out publicly, could cause series issues for the Tudor line. He holds onto it as Anne is executed by the maritally fickle King, whose eyes turn to another woman. During Jane Seymour’s brief time on the throne, Henry got his male heir, but lost a wife in the process. Cromwell turned to finding the next great wife for Henry, all the while holding onto this major bit of news that could make heads—literally—roll. When a foreign princess, Anna of Kleve, arrives to wed Henry, there is a serious breach and panic ensues. Henry must save face and denies having ever wanted this German woman as his wife. Surely the portrait sent did not depict the woman Henry thought he loved. Someone must be to blame and Cromwell seems the easiest target. David Field does well with this piece, dazzling those who like historical fiction with his attention to detail. Recommended to those who have been following the series, as well as readers who love the Tudor era.

I am so happy to see that David Field continuing with this series, which mixes some of the well-known parts of history with lesser published bits. Field injects a wonderful narrative and balances it with the development of a key character of the era, this time Thomas Cromwell. The man who served as Henry VIII’s right hand man on some issues proved to have the most difficult of positions. Trying to keep the King happy and the Court running well proves to be problematic, with so many balls up in the air. Cromwell feels the pressure from all sides but continues to do his best to keep everything working well. However, there comes a time when something must give and Cromwell may become the victim of his own attempt to keep a crazed man satisfied. Others make a mark in this tale that helps push forward the Tudor narrative. Some great characters from history are peppered throughout this story and Field develops them effectively to keep the story on point. A great piece with a mix of different length chapters to keep the reader intrigued and ready to learn a little more. Field has done well with the past novels in this and other historical series. New fans are in for a treat, when they discover how well he presents the issues here. A little deeper than some of his other writing, but well worth the invested effort.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for a great link from the past book. Field has so much to share and does it effectively in a concise manner.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons