From Publishers Weekly
Smooth modern prose with only an occasional "strewth" for period flavor and an ingenious but easy-to-follow plot lift British author Buckley's seventh historical (after 2002's A Pawn for a Queen) to feature Ursula Blanchard, half-sister, confidant and agent of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1568, the queen summons Ursula to court ostensibly because Ursula's ward, Penelope Mason, has been paying too much attention to a married music master. Ursula travels with Penelope to the north of England to find a husband for her ward, but her real mission is to convey a very private verbal message directly to Mary Tudor, formerly Queen of Scots, who's held captive in isolated Bolton Castle. Ursula also seeks to learn what role Mary may have had in the recent mysterious death of her husband, Lord Darnley. Ursula suffers considerable pain, anxiety and concern for her own daughter in the process. Readers familiar with the mineral deposits in Yorkshire will have an advantage in solving one of her problems. Fans will be pleased to know that the author plans to write another seven books in this series notable for its thorough research and faithfulness to period. FYI: Buckley is the pseudonym of Valerie Anand.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Intrigue and suspense reign supreme in another tautly constructed Elizabethan mystery featuring Ursula Blanchard, illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII and sometime spy for her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth. When the queen summons Ursula to court on the pretext of dismissing Penelope Mason, Ursula's flirtatious young ward, from the royal service, she intuitively senses that Elizabeth has more on her mind than youthful romantic high jinks. Confiding her suspicions about her imprisoned rival, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth charges Ursula with the task of delivering a secret message to Mary. Shortly after Ursula's arrival at Bolton Castle, Mary escapes, Penelope is kidnapped, and Ursula is inextricably drawn into an ever-widening web of danger, deceit, and murder. Ursula must summon all her considerable wit and courage in order to foil an intricately plotted act of high treason. An artfully executed period piece. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved