Following the tragedy that resulted from the gunpowder plot, Francis once again finds herself in the dangerous Stuart court. This time, Catholic forces seek to dethrone the king’s son and heir and put his daughter on the throne instead. Francis finds herself blackmailed to ensure she plays her part in the coup. Can she use her skills—the ones that once condemned her as a witch—to protect her husband and child from the forces that threaten them and her own life?
Tracy Borman sure does her homework in these books. Since I know more about the Tudors rather than Stuart history, I learned a lot about the history of the era and who played key roles in the conspiracies to remove Protestants from the throne in this turbulent time.
While the plot to this story was fresh with historical accuracies, I found it running rather slowly at times in the build-up to historical events (which is what I personally look forward to in historical novels). I could kind of tell which parts were invented and which were real, which I don’t like experiencing in historical fiction…I instead like asking the question in response to these events: “Did that really happen?”
There was also not as much witch-hysteria present as in the first book. The fear that Francis experienced was there, but there were not as many events surrounding that fear like I had expected this novel to contain.
As far as sequels go, it was okay…but I think I liked the first novel in this series better because it held more fear amidst the historical backdrop of the time rather than the protagonists’ thought process, which I think was more apparent in this one. Reading the thought-processes of characters are helpful in novels, but I feel that this one sort of crossed the line at times between being informative and info-dumping.
Overall, I think this novel was a helpful addition to the series and it set up the story well for the next novel, which makes me curious about how Borman plans to wrap up the series.