Monday, August 10, 2020

"The Queen's Falconer" by Charity Bishop

The fifth book in Charity Bishop's Tudor Throne Series does not disappoint!  Intrigue and treachery still swirl around King Henry VII even while his court celebrates the Twelve Days of Christmas.  Many familiar faces and names return from the previous four books, and I love that I'm really starting to feel like I know King Henry, Queen Elizabeth, Kathrine of Aragon, Prince Harry, and Princess Maggie.  But not Thomas Lovell, because he is, of course #unknowable.  Or so he likes to tell himself.

I was just telling my husband yesterday about how Lovell started out in The Usurper's Throne as this sort of cunning, deceitful, shadowy figure that you told yourself you'd just have to trust even if you weren't sure you should like him as much as you do.  And yet, he was one of my favorite characters in it, and by now, yeah, he's totally my favorite.  In the whole series.  Because you know I love me a guy with a dark, ruthless exterior and a melted-chocolate center.

Anyway.  This book revolves around Lambert Simnel, the titular falconer for Queen Elizabeth.  As a boy, he was used by King Henry's enemies as a Pretender to the throne in one of their many attempts to overthrow the Tudor monarch.  Henry spared his life and allowed him to work in the royal household, no doubt so he could keep an eye on him, and Simnel eventually became their falconer.  All of that comes straight from history.  Bishop weaves a compelling spy tale into this story, with Lovell enlisting Simnel's aid to round up the last cadre of Henry's enemies.

Though the series as a whole has focused a lot on the king and queen, this book makes them its emotional center, as Elizabeth prepares for her confinement and the birth of their latest child.  She and Henry love each other deeply, and the impending separation darkens their yuletide festivities.  Though many things do get sorted out in a satisfactory way by the end of the book, sticking to the historical events means this book has a sad ending, alas.

As always, this book left me wanting more, and I eagerly await book six!

Particularly Good Bits:

"Sin being common does not make it right" (p. 19).

"Never apologize for tears.  I can protect you from many things, but not sorrow.  It is the price we pay for our love... and our mistakes" (p. 65).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-16 for husbands and wives desiring each other, discussions of marital infidelity and love affairs, and violence.

This is my 30th book read from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020


  1. Great review! My favorite line from your review: "Because you know I love me a guy with a dark, ruthless exterior and a melted-chocolate center." Sounds like I need to get this series!

    1. Mom, definitely try them out! First book is The Usurper's Throne. I think you'd enjoy them.

  2. I'm glad you liked it and are a fan of Lovell. I like him a lot too (as does my mother, which surprises me). Funny story about him -- he came out of my anger. I had sent a couple of chapters of my rough draft for the first book to a friend, who bluntly told me this was boring. So I got mad, and asked myself -- what would spice this up and give it a center? Well, Lovell cleared his throat, stepped into my stories, and... they have never been the same since then.

    He can be incredibly ruthless and brutal, but he also has a lot of compassion for broken things and innocent creatures. He won't bother you, unless you take after the People He Loves. You do, you're dead. You don't, you're fine.

    And yeah, writing some scenes in this gutted me. I felt so bad for ... certain people. If I could change history, I would. ;)

    1. Charity, I was just telling my husband how Lovell started out as a shady character and then I and a few others kept clamoring for more of him and insisting he was our favorite character, and now a few books later, he's like the roguish ringmaster at the royal circus. With a side of, as you say, ruthlessness and brutality.

      Stupid history, always being such a mixed bag instead of filled with happily-ever-afters.

    2. I don't know that Lovell has changed as much as people's perceptions of him have changed given access to his back story... but then again, he writes his own story and I'm just along for the ride and I become so fond of my anti-heroes, usually they soften up. ;)

      I know. That's the drag of historical fiction. You want to change things and you can't. Shame. I could be writing revisionist history / alternate history novels but... I'm too far into this series to start now. XD

    3. Charity, that does make sense -- a fuller view of a character often changes attitudes toward them.


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