Today’s guest on What Cathy Read Next is Sam Burnell, author of A Queen’s Spy. As a fan of historical fiction, especially if it’s set in the turbulent Tudor period, I couldn’t resist Sam’s offer to read her book. Unfortunately, that won’t be for a little while yet but, in the meantime, I’m delighted to bring you a guest post from Sam about how her love of history has inspired her writing.
Sam’s next book, A Queen’s Traitor, which involves a plot to steal Princess Elizabeth from England and spirit her away to Holland, is due out towards the end of 2017. The Tudor Heresy, a short 7,000 word introduction to the series as a whole, was published in July 2017.
About the Book
Richard Fitzwarren is a Tudor nobleman with a dubious past who takes risks for a living. His close friendship with Princess Elizabeth leads to his banishment to France. He returns to England a self styled Tudor soldier of fortune selling his services, and those of his mercenary band, to the highest bidder. But he remains loyal to the lady Elizabeth and soon he is embroiled in Tudor intrigue as he tries to keep her safe.
At his side is Jack, his bastard sibling; their relationship a troubled one. Impatient, impulsive and impetuous, Jack is everything Richard is not. There is a dark family secret Richard had always suspected; the final discovery of it changes the relationship
Format: ebook (406 pp.), paperback (404 pp.) Published: 19th April 2017 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find A Queen’s Spy on Goodreads
Guest Post: ‘Why History?’ by Sam Burnell
‘As a little girl, I wanted to live in a castle, one with turrets, a great hall and painted ceilings adorned with lions and unicorns. I was indeed lucky enough to live in a castle whilst at University and spending my days and nights in such a wonderful magical place had a lasting effect. Forever was I wondering what had happened in the rooms, musing on who had walked the corridors before me, and what crimes the inmates had committed, who had been interred in the rooms I now occupied which had once been used as a prison. To live in a place where Princes, Bishops and Kings had once walked was a true privilege.
I’ve always found the life of Elizabeth I to be utterly fascinating. The trauma she experienced as a child must have been terrible, as first her mother and then a succession of other women to whom she became close, perished either in child birth or at the behest of the axe. An incredibly intelligent girl, educated as a Prince, with her father’s iron will, and her mother’s ability to dissemble; it comes as no surprise that she never succumbed to marriage.
In my book, A Queen’s Spy, the character who starts the chain of events is Thomas Seymour. His life story is incredible; extremely charismatic and yet also fatally flawed by own ambition. A man motivated by greed; a man who had nearly everything and yet it was still not quite enough. A man who had risen further than you could imagine was possible, and yet he still wanted to rise further. Thomas Seymour was a man who would be King. He was Uncle, and a beloved Uncle, to a King, he was married to a King’s Widow, and he had custody in his household of a dead King’s daughter. None of it though was enough for Thomas. Incredibly this man eventually persuaded a ten year old boy, Edward VI, to back him in a plot to seize power from his brother. It was highly probable that Edward was a willing participant in Thomas’s plot to steal the young King away from Hampton Court, and name himself as Lord Protector. His manipulation of this young sovereign was a step too far for the Privy Council, and it led it him to the block. His defence that he acted only in the name of the King failed to save him.
There is nothing more offensive that when Hollywood decides to re-write history in the name of entertainment. For many of us we get our historical information from television programmes, films and books. I feel it is very important for the historical context to be correct. My main characters are indeed fictional, but their playground is Tudor England, and the places and dates are ones Elizabeth I would recognise. My bookshelves are stocked with well thumbed dusty historical works bristling with post it notes.’
About the Author
Sam Burnell lives in the North East of England and has had a passion for history and archaeology all her adult life. Originally trained as a Solicitor, whilst studying for a law degree at Durham University she discovered a love for legal history. Various jobs followed, including researcher for a local museum, public sector audit work and finally now running her own successful scuba diving business both on-line and in a bricks and mortar store. During a career break a return to University was possible where she studied Archaeology, and Sam is never happier then when she’s stood in a castle wondering what when and why and trying to unlock the secrets in the stones.
Sam Burnell’s passion is the Tudor period, and her fiction is meticulously researched, and her historical fiction has the true flavour of the period. The Tudor period is replete with mystery and intrigue ready to be turned into entertaining fiction that also provides the reader with a greater insight into the history of the period. The Tudor Heresy serves as an introduction to A Queen’s Spy and provides an opener to the series and an introduction to the main characters. The next book in the series, A Queen’s Traitor, will be available in September 2017. Sam’s favourite reading material would be anything by Phillipa Gregory, C J Sansom or Alison Weir, all Tudor historical fiction, medieval mysteries and medieval fiction.
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