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This title in other editions

Other titles in the Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court series:

The Siren Queen: An Ursula Blanchard Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court

by

The Siren Queen: An Ursula Blanchard Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court Cover

ISBN13: 9780743237529
ISBN10: 0743237528
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The year is 1569. Ursula Blanchard, illegitimate half sister to Queen Elizabeth I and sometime spy on the Queen's behalf, is happily married to wealthy Hugh Stannard and living quietly in the country. Ursula's thoughts are on domestic matters as she watches her daughter, Meg, grow up. Meg will soon be fourteen, so perhaps it is time to think of a betrothal.

When an invitation to visit arrives from the powerful Duke of Norfolk, Ursula and Hugh welcome the chance for Meg to meet an apparently worthy young man of the Duke's household, Edmund Dean. Is he a possible husband for Meg?

It's love at first sight, at least on Meg's part. Young Dean seems to admire Meg as well, and he's even more impressed with her promised dowry. Ursula, though, has her doubts. Does she see something cruel in the man's eyes?

Soon, more weighty matters demand Ursula's attention. Two men are dead under mysterious circumstances, and there may be a new plot to put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the English throne. A letter written in cipher may contain the information Ursula needs — but can she decode the letter in time to save the half sister and Queen she loves? And what shattering personal discovery will the letter reveal?

Surrounded by treachery, Ursula wonders whom she can trust. Is the great Duke of Norfolk himself part of the plot against Queen Elizabeth? And what about the young man who would marry Meg?

With richly drawn characters and riveting historical accuracy, The Siren Queen sweeps us into a suspenseful and passionate re-creation of one of the most tumultuous and colorful eras of English history.

Review:

"British author Buckley's excellent eighth Ursula Blanchard novel offers fine writing and deft plotting while vividly bringing the past to life. Where earlier volumes used historical mysteries that have sparked heated debate over the centuries, such as the sudden death of Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 2003's The Fugitive Queen, this latest focuses on now obscure political intrigue involving an Italian banker, Roberto Ridolfi, in 1568. With threats to Elizabeth's throne looming, Blanchard, the queen's half-sister and occasional spy, uncovers suspicious correspondence pointing to a scheme to place Mary on the English throne. After the courier charged with delivering those messages turns up dead and a second murder soon follows, Blanchard, her husband and her loyal retinue seek evidence of motive and opportunity while alerting the beleaguered secretary of state, Lord Cecil, to the plot and working to forestall it. Experienced whodunit readers may identify the culprit more easily than they'd like, but the author's rare ability to effortlessly integrate fact and fiction and the cliffhanger ending will leave both old and new fans eagerly awaiting the next installment. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Dec. 7) FYI: Buckley is the pseudonym of Valerie Anand." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The latest richly evocative and impressively researched mystery in a series that seamlessly blends riveting authenticity and masterful storytelling reveals the inside story behind Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots.

About the Author

Fiona Buckley is the author of eight historical mystery novels featuring Ursula Blanchard: To Shield the Queen, The Doublet Affair, Queen's Ransom, To Ruin a Queen, Queen of Ambition, A Pawn for a Queen, The Fugitive Queen, and The Siren Queen. She lives in North Surrey, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

sentina, November 23, 2012 (view all comments by sentina)
One of the most important elements of this book is the picture it gives of witch hunts against female herbal healers by male doctors:

" ... she was skilled in herbal remedies, which
annoyed almost any physician with whom she came
into contact."

" ... the Withysham physician... was a pompous
individual who had come to me complaining that Gladys
was intruding on his work, by which he meant stealing
his patients. The real root of the trouble was that
her potions usually worked better than his. I was
secretly convinced that some of his were lethal and
that one of his unintentional victims... had died...
probably speeded on her way by his regime of bleeding
and purges."

When the old herbalist, Gladys, is arrested for witchcraft, her accusers say:

"... she was... pretending to be a physician, which
is an art to be practiced only by men."

There is also a strong feminist element, both in Ursula, who is definitely not meekly subservient to her husband, and her age 14 daughter, who eventually realizes on her own that the cold-eyed, manipulative older man who wants to wed and mold her, would do all he could to destroy her intelligence, independent thinking, and strength.

"It wouldn't have occurred to him that to treat a
young girl like a filly for sale might upset her or
her guardians."

Although the "detective story" does not get exciting until quite a way into the book, it DOES get gripping then. Ursula, her daughter Meg, and her husband Hugh are all believably intelligent, tender, compassionate, courageous, and strong people. The mystery story takes its intriguing time developing, and I really wanted to know what would happen.

After reading several other historical novels about this era in England, I found this one lacking the much broader and deeper detail that was present in the others. Since the author, Fiona Buckley, lives in England, perhaps she is assuming a wider knowledge and belief base in her readers. For example, Buckley takes a completely unsympathetic viewpoint of Queen Mary of Scotland as conniving and power mad that has been attributed to her by her detractors, but I have read novels that present her from multi-faceted views, which are clearly much more realistic and definitely more interesting.

The author also seems to know that her readers automatically know who Cecil is, which she barely explains, and he, too, is presented from a very narrow viewpoint.

However, her descriptons of clothes, buildings, speech and social patterns, social classes, political and economic machinations, power struggles, Queen Elizabeth's dress and behavior, the casual execution of starving people who steal bread, the insanity of countries fighting over two very similar religions (Catholic and Anglican), as well as good-hearted people vs nasty villains are excellent.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
sentina, November 23, 2012 (view all comments by sentina)
One of the most important elements of this book is the picture it gives of witch hunts against female herbal healers by male doctors:

" ... she was skilled in herbal remedies, which
annoyed almost any physician with whom she came
into contact."

" ... the Withysham physician... was a pompous
individual who had come to me complaining that Gladys
was intruding on his work, by which he meant stealing
his patients. The real root of the trouble was that
her potions usually worked better than his. I was
secretly convinced that some of his were lethal and
that one of his unintentional victims... had died...
probably speeded on her way by his regime of bleeding
and purges."

When the old herbalist, Gladys, is arrested for witchcraft, her accusers say:

"... she was... pretending to be a physician, which
is an art to be practiced only by men."

There is also a strong feminist element, both in Ursula, who is definitely not meekly subservient to her husband, and her age 14 daughter, who eventually realizes on her own that the cold-eyed, manipulative older man who wants to wed and mold her, would do all he could to destroy her intelligence, independent thinking, and strength.

"It wouldn't have occurred to him that to treat a
young girl like a filly for sale might upset her or
her guardians."

Although the "detective story" does not get exciting until quite a way into the book, it DOES get gripping then. Ursula, her daughter Meg, and her husband Hugh are all believably intelligent, tender, compassionate, courageous, and strong people. The mystery story takes its intriguing time developing, and I really wanted to know what would happen.

After reading several other historical novels about this era in England, I found this one lacking the much broader and deeper detail that was present in the others. Since the author, Fiona Buckley, lives in England, perhaps she is assuming a wider knowledge and belief base in her readers. For example, Buckley takes a completely unsympathetic viewpoint of Queen Mary of Scotland as conniving and power mad that has been attributed to her by her detractors, but I have read novels that present her from multi-faceted views, which are clearly much more realistic and definitely more interesting.

The author also seems to know that her readers automatically know who Cecil is, which she barely explains, and he, too, is presented from a very narrow viewpoint.

However, her descriptons of clothes, buildings, speech and social patterns, social classes, political and economic machinations, power struggles, Queen Elizabeth's dress and behavior, the casual execution of starving people who steal bread, the insanity of countries fighting over two very similar religions (Catholic and Anglican), as well as good-hearted people vs nasty villains are excellent.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743237529
Author:
Buckley, Fiona
Publisher:
Scribner Book Company
Location:
New York
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Queens
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Subject:
Women detectives
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Conspiracies
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Traditional British
Subject:
Courts and courtiers
Subject:
Blanchard, Ursula
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series:
Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court
Series Volume:
239
Publication Date:
20041231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 x 1 in 13.09 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Siren Queen: An Ursula Blanchard Mystery at Queen Elizabeth I's Court New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$25.00 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743237529 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "British author Buckley's excellent eighth Ursula Blanchard novel offers fine writing and deft plotting while vividly bringing the past to life. Where earlier volumes used historical mysteries that have sparked heated debate over the centuries, such as the sudden death of Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, in 2003's The Fugitive Queen, this latest focuses on now obscure political intrigue involving an Italian banker, Roberto Ridolfi, in 1568. With threats to Elizabeth's throne looming, Blanchard, the queen's half-sister and occasional spy, uncovers suspicious correspondence pointing to a scheme to place Mary on the English throne. After the courier charged with delivering those messages turns up dead and a second murder soon follows, Blanchard, her husband and her loyal retinue seek evidence of motive and opportunity while alerting the beleaguered secretary of state, Lord Cecil, to the plot and working to forestall it. Experienced whodunit readers may identify the culprit more easily than they'd like, but the author's rare ability to effortlessly integrate fact and fiction and the cliffhanger ending will leave both old and new fans eagerly awaiting the next installment. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Dec. 7) FYI: Buckley is the pseudonym of Valerie Anand." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The latest richly evocative and impressively researched mystery in a series that seamlessly blends riveting authenticity and masterful storytelling reveals the inside story behind Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots.
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