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In a Treacherous Court Paperback – August 2, 2011

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In a Treacherous Court + Keeper of the King's Secrets + In Defense of the Queen (Susanna Horenbout & John Parker) (Volume 3)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439197083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439197080
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,338,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Awesome! History woven flawlessly into riveting fiction." Tammy J. Schneider (Special Features Editor and book reviewer at "Affaire de Coeur" magazine)
--Affaire de Coeur Magazine

With its richly detailed historical setting and intrigue-filled plot, "In a Treacherous Court" is simply irresistible. Chicago Tribune

"Just when readers think there is nothing new to be learned about Henry VIII, debut author Diener delivers a taut suspense . . . that will keep you turning the pages." Kathe Robin (RT Magazine August 2011 issue)

A masterfully spun tale of mystery, intrigue, and the inner workings of Henry's court!" Fresh Fiction

About the Author

Michelle Diener has always had a passion for reading and writing. She began writing stories when her parents gave her a typewriter for her twelfth birthday, and she hasn’t stopped since. Born in London and raised in South Africa, she now lives on the west coast of Australia with her husband and two small children.

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Customer Reviews

I look forward to reading more about them in the next books in the series.
Amy (So Many Reads)
With In a Treacherous Court, Michelle Diener weaves a wonderful tapestry of historical fiction.
Suspense, royalty, intrigue, fantastic characters, great writing and a great love story.
E. Ramer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on July 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
Author Michelle Diener bursts onto the historical fiction scene with an exciting and wonderfully-written read about a virtually unknown woman from Tudor-era England. Her name is Susanna Horenbout, a young woman who is sent the court of Henry VIII from Belgium to serve as the king's personal illuminator. After an attempt is made on Susanna's life, she is put in the care of courtier John Parker, who she eventually develops feelings for. But, of course, their romance isn't that simple. After discovering that Susanna is the key to a plot to overthrow the king, she and Parker are forced into a wild and unexpected conspiracy where no one knows what could happen next.

Treacherous Court is about as exciting as it sounds. Told through the eyes of a well-constructed and fascinating protagonist, the novel perfectly balances a sweet and realistic romance with some intriguing and awesome court intrigue (really, some of the best court intrigue I've ever read).

Diener also strives for historical accuracy along with vivid period detail and the desire to bring little-known people and events to life, which really helps infuse the story with some refreshing originality for a Henry VIII-era novel (yeah, I was worried that this would just be another run-of-the-mill Tudor novel, but it wasn't).

Highly recommended for fans of Tudor-period historical fiction who are looking for something different.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kim Adams on July 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
Author Michelle Diener delivers an intriguing tale based on two real people from the Tudor period - John Parker, King Henry's trusted agent, and Susanna Horenbout, King Henry's Flemish illuminator. The action begins just as Susanna exits the ship where she comforted a dying courtier. John is charged to protect her - a role he continues long after Susanna shares the courtier's message for King Henry. Diener weaves a tale that makes readers want to know more about these two "working class" protagonists as they encounter hostility (and discover treason) from the noble families in a truly treacherous court.

I could not put the book down, even to make dinner, as the nonstop action moved from Dover to London. Neither John nor Susanna find much time to sleep as shadows continue to plague them with assassination attempts (think THE LONGEST DAY in Tudor Times). Yet John finds himself falling in love with the competent, but sensuous, Susanna. Early in the story, John spies Susanna inspecting a shipment of Italian crossbows that also arrived on her ship - she admired their craftsmanship; he admired her beauty. Soon thereafter, they use the crossbows to defend themselves - she is disgusted by the violence; he vows vengeance against those who threaten both Susanna and the king. Later in the story, John admires Susanna's hands (and arms) as she mixed paints - it illuminated an intimate moment that underscored the romance within the mystery.

When forced to put the book down, to actually make dinner, I found myself looking up other characters from King Henry's court - Diener piqued my interest in the complicated history of the Tudor Era. In fact, Diener demonstrated that she could be a story teller to the king - His Majesty would appreciate the murder, mystery, and romance!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Book of Secrets VINE VOICE on July 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
IN A TREACHEROUS COURT is Michelle Diener's exciting debut novel. The story is set in the court of Henry VIII when he was still married to his first wife Catherine of Aragon. John Parker, one of the king's most trusted and loyal courtiers, is sent to meet the king's new court painter arriving by ship from the Netherlands. He is surprised to learn that the Flemish artist is a young woman named Susanna Horenbout, and that she was the witness to the murder of a spy. The secret message for the king that the dying man whispered to Susanna has put her life in grave danger, and it's Parker's duty to deliver her to Henry safely. Soon Parker and Susanna become entangled in a plot against the king, and they must find who's responsible before Susanna becomes the next victim.

IN A TREACHEROUS COURT is an interesting blend of historical fiction, mystery, suspense and romance. I love stories set in the Tudor period, and I enjoyed the vivid descriptions of this time and place, both the beautiful and the cruel. Henry VIII is one of history's more intriguing rulers, so I loved that he was a character in this book.

The main characters were also based on actual historical figures. Susanna Horenbout was a Flemish artist who is thought to have worked for the king at one time. John Parker was the King's Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and his Yeoman of the Crossbows. They seemed well suited for each other since the story tells us neither were traditional players in Henry's court. Their romance blended nicely into the story as a whole. My favorite character was Parker, who could be ruthless yet compassionate when needed.

The mystery surrounding the plot against the king, including the major players involved, was well researched and very convincing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By HHK VINE VOICE on August 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like a little romantic subplot with my historical fiction.
This book, however, crosses the line and is more historical romance with a thin layer of history.
The plot is superficial and the de la Pole conspiracy is thin, so the intrigue mystery element really felt flat
Parker and Susanna have "Insta-love/Insta-lust", so there is no romantic tension.
It is not rich in period/historical detail.
The writing however is brisk and the book is a quick read.
Readers of hardcore Historical fiction (Chadwick/Penman) will be dissappointed because this is Historical fiction "lite"
Let's hope the second book in this series is "meatier".
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More About the Author

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. From the Tudor court, to the streets of Regency London, and into magical landscapes, she's never happier than when she's building worlds, sculpting unforgettable characters and crafting suspenseful plots.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

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