Publication Date: December 3, 2018
eBook; ASIN: B07L3YGBWJ
From the author of the international bestselling Tudor Trilogy comes a true story of adventure, courtly love and chivalric loyalty. Handsome, charismatic and a champion jouster, Sir Charles Brandon is the epitome of a Tudor Knight. A favourite of King Henry VIII, Brandon has a secret. He has fallen in love with Henry’s sister, Mary Tudor, the beautiful widowed Queen of France, and risks everything to marry her without the King’s consent. Brandon becomes Duke of Suffolk, but his loyalty is tested fighting Henry’s wars in France. Mary’s public support for Queen Catherine of Aragon brings Brandon into dangerous conflict with the ambitious Boleyn family and the king’s new right-hand man, Thomas Cromwell. Torn between duty to his family and loyalty to the king, Brandon faces an impossible decision: can he accept Anne Boleyn as his new queen?
I love the way this book takes the historical setting and paints Brandon in a new light for the reader. We get to see him as just a regular person - albeit cocky as ever - but also with how highly he regarded his King and also how truly loyal he was to his friend the King of England. Before ever reading this book, I read up a lot on Brandon and I honestly believe he really did love Henry like his own kin, and I am positive that he never had any bad intentions towards his friend and King. He found himself in a place that I believe he never expected - and he found out just how difficult it was to be both friend and loyal servant to a King that could turn at any moment. He had to play both sides, and I think this book really shows how he did that and how he was able to come back and return to the King and truly became THE one person I believe Henry trusted above all others. Brandon was a complicated character, but he didn't hide it - he didn't pretend to be something he wasn't. And he spent his lifetime walking a very thin line between the King's favor and disappointment, because there were many times Brandon did not trust Henry's judgement nor the people he kept around him - people such as the high and mighty Cardinal Wolsey, who took and took from the King and schemed his way to his own death; as well as mistrusting Anne Boleyn, Henry's second wife. Brandon was a Catholic, and although he was never disloyal to Henry, he was not happy to do his duties and exile Queen Catherine of Aragon or her daughter Mary. I think the fall of Wolsey and Anne Boleyn were both events that Brandon was happy to see.
I truly loved seeing Brandon as a real person in this book, and I really loved seeing things from his perspective. One thing I did notice was that in the book there was not a lot of interactions between Charles and Henry, it was written entirely from the perspective of the Duke of Suffolk. I also love that we saw so much of his life with Mary Tudor, the Kings sister. It wasn't just a glossing over of events, she was the largest part of his life, and unfortunately for some reason Charles was not lucky with sons - something he shared with his King, friend and brother-in-law. All of his sons passed away, 2 after his own death, but his daughters seemed to thrive. I enjoyed learning more about his earlier children that are not well-known. The Duke of Suffolk led a charmed life, and maybe the only thing I would have loved to read about was how hard Henry took the death of his best friend and lifelong confidant, because I do believe that Brandon's death was possibly one of the worst things to ever happen to the King, and I think that perhaps Henry's death a little over a year later was partly due to the horrible loss.
In all, the book covers pretty much all aspects of Brandon's life, which spanned the course of his friendship with Henry to his own death - through all of the heartbreaks Henry faced trying to find true love and have a son - and walking the line to stay loyal to his King and yet also loyal to his wife and his own heart. It all came down to loyalty, and I think after reading this book, a lot of people who didn't know much about Charles Brandon, the Duke of Suffolk, will definitely find him as fascinating a character as I do :) This was a really great historical fiction book, and I highly recommend anyone who is a fan of the Tudor era to read it, because Brandon was a very influential part of King Henry's life. FIVE STARS!!!
Tony Riches is a full-time writer and lives with his wife in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. After several successful non-fiction books, Tony turned to novel writing and wrote ‘Queen Sacrifice’, set in 10th century Wales, followed by ‘The Shell’, a thriller set in present-day Kenya. A specialist in the history of the early Tudors, he is best known for his Tudor Trilogy. Tony’s other international bestsellers include ‘Warwick ~ The Man Behind the Wars of the Roses’ and ‘The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham’.
For more information please visit Tony’s website and his blog The Writing Desk. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
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