Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Julie's Review: Keeper of the King's Secrets

Summary:  A priceless jewel. A royal court rife with intrigue. A secret deal, where the price of truth could come too high . . . The personal artist to King Henry Tudor, Susanna Horenbout is sought by the queen and ladies of the court for her delicate, skilled portraits. But now someone from her past is pulling her into a duplicitous game where the consequence of failure is war. Soon, Susanna and her betrothed, the King’s most dangerous courtier, are unraveling a plot that would shatter Europe. And at the heart of it is a magnificent missing diamond. . . . With John Parker at her side, Susanna searches for the diamond and those responsible for its theft, their every step dogged by a lethal assassin. Finding the truth means plunging into the heart of the court’s most bitter infighting, surviving the harrowing labyrinth of Fleet Prison—and then coming face-to-face with the most dangerous enemy of all. ~amazon.com

Review: Keeper of the King's Secrets is one fast-paced historical fiction novel! It reads like a thriller with the players being in Henry VIII's court! Henry VIII's court is nothing but if not exciting, intriguing and definitely dangerous, but this book really has nothing to do with Henry himself. Sure, he's the King but it's not like other novels I've read that deal specifically with his court and the schemes there.

Susanna is the King's painter and is engaged to one of his courtier's, John Parker. Susanna stumbles upon someone from her past who should be happy to see her but instead who tries to kill her. By having this chance meeting on the street, it has put her life in grave danger.

What ensues is Susanna and Parker in  pursuit of someone trying to get the King entered into a war with France that the country can't afford by stealing the Mirror of Naples jewel for their own gain. As with all things in Henry VIII's court you never know who to trust, so Susanna and Parker keep this mystery close to the vest and only involve the King when it is necessary. They work to uncover the mystery while trying to not get themselves killed in the process by the assassin.

Now, I really can't say much else without revealing all the plot lines, twists and turns that you will want to read for yourself. What I can say is that Ms. Diener created very likable characters in Susanna and Parker. Even though Henry VIII is a scoundrel, in some ways you can't help but root for him as well, especially when people are always trying to back stab him and get what they can out of him.

The history of the Mirror of Naples itself is packed with mystery and intrigue. Ms. Diener has a blog post about it here.

If you like anything that deals with Henry VIII's court, then you should definitely pick up and read  Keeper of the King's Secrets. I didn't feel that I need to read the first novel, In a Treacherous Court, to understand this one. That being said, I will definitely be reading In a Treacherous Court to learn more about Susanna and Parker. What a duo!! I also hope to see a third novel involving these two!

Final Take: 4.25/5

Thanks to Gallery Books for my ARC of the novel!

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