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The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castileby C W Gortner
Synopses & Reviews
No one believed I was destined for greatness.
So begins Isabella’s story, in this evocative, vividly imagined novel about one of history’s most famous and controversial queens—the warrior who united a fractured country, the champion of the faith whose reign gave rise to the Inquisition, and the visionary who sent Columbus to discover a New World. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner envisages the turbulent early years of a woman whose mythic rise to power would go on to transform a monarchy, a nation, and the world.
Young Isabella is barely a teenager when she and her brother are taken from their mother’s home to live under the watchful eye of their half-brother, King Enrique, and his sultry, conniving queen. There, Isabella is thrust into danger when she becomes an unwitting pawn in a plot to dethrone Enrique. Suspected of treason and held captive, she treads a perilous path, torn between loyalties, until at age seventeen she suddenly finds herself heiress of Castile, the largest kingdom in Spain. Plunged into a deadly conflict to secure her crown, she is determined to wed the one man she loves yet who is forbidden to her—Fernando, prince of Aragon.
As they unite their two realms under “one crown, one country, one faith,” Isabella and Fernando face an impoverished Spain beset by enemies. With the future of her throne at stake, Isabella resists the zealous demands of the inquisitor Torquemada even as she is seduced by the dreams of an enigmatic navigator named Columbus. But when the Moors of the southern domain of Granada declare war, a violent, treacherous battle against an ancient adversary erupts, one that will test all of Isabella’s resolve, her courage, and her tenacious belief in her destiny.
From the glorious palaces of Segovia to the battlefields of Granada and the intrigue-laden gardens of Seville, The Queen’s Vow sweeps us into the tumultuous forging of a nation and the complex, fascinating heart of the woman who overcame all odds to become Isabella of Castile.
"Gortner (The Confessions of Catherine de Medici) returns with another examination of European royalty in his fifth historical. With older brothers Enrique and Alfonso set to inherit the throne of Castile, Isabella was an unlikely queen. But Alfonso dies in a failed coup, and Enrique proves an ineffectual leader, leaving Isabella the obvious heir. Isabella and Enrique quickly clash when she refuses to marry for his political gain. In an act of rebellion, she weds Ferdinand of Aragon, heir to the impoverished neighboring kingdom. When Enrique dies, Isabella ascends to the throne and rules Castile and Aragon, with Ferdinand by her side, fending off invasions, debts, and other pressures. Along the way she starts a cultural renaissance in Spain and commissions Christopher Columbus, but also allows the Inquisition to resume. Gortner's exhaustive look at Isabella's rise to power eventually trails off and feels directionless. Despite being a compelling female figure in European history, this Isabella is never particularly interesting, nor are the contradictions of her rule examined. Readers will spend much of their time waiting for the pace to pick up. Agent: Jennifer Weitz, the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
C. W. Gortner’s historical novels have garnered international praise and been translated into fourteen languages. He divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.
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