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The Fugitive Queen Paperback – December 7, 2004

11 customer reviews
Book 7 of 10 in the Ursula Blanchard Series

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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

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 Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Reprint edition (December 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074345748X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743457484
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gwen Orel on June 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have read and enjoyed some historical fiction in this period, particularly the Chronicles of Lymond by Dorothy Dunnett, but generally am skeptical of mysteries. So often mystery writers spend a lot of energy deliberately misleading the reader and the payoff ("Oh, it was a red herring") leads to frustration at time wasted.
Not in this case. I picked up this book without realizing it was one in a series and enjoyed it so much I went back and read the first novel (and will be making my way through the rest). The way this book is written, it seems more like a historical novel whose main character is reluctantly involved in a mystery, than a book in which the mystery is the point.
Ursula Blanchard is an engaging, strong, sympathetic woman, and her point of view is sensible and shrewd. All of the minor characters are fully drawn-- including poor man-crazy, plain Penelope who keeps getting into trouble through her romantic nature. I knew this book was going to be good when Penelope's embarassing crush on the music teacher was never explained away-- it really WAS a poor teenage crush (so often something like this would be used as a red herring in which the music teacher was involved in a plot too etc. etc.)
Great sense of menace once Ursula gets to the countryside, but nobody is a cardboard villain.
I read this after having completed a disappointing collection of mystery short stories called "Much Ado about Murder," so Buckley's winning me over is even more impressive as I was skeptical that merely setting something in a historical period could make the story interesting... and of course, it isn't the merely the period that's interesting.
Buckley is a terrific storyteller and Ursual is a wonderful narrator. Really enjoyable in every respect!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Fletcher Adolph on June 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the latest in an excellent series of mysteries set in England during the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth. The writer shares a comprehensive understanding of the uneasy political and religious dynamics of the time, as well as life at court and the (very different) life in every-day Elizabethan England.
The plot is well designed and carried through and the characters are well-drawn and memorable. I enjoy the fact that the protagonist is a woman and the viewpoint is feminine rather than masculine. It's all too easy, when writing historical fiction, to gravitate to the masculine, with the hero mounting his steed and dashing off in all directions, with exciting chases and plenty of swashbuckling fights and battles. You'll find a little of that here, but mostly you'll find a woman just trying to do her best for her susceptible young relative and for her queen. It's just that she has an exciting time doing it.
Blending historical fact with dramatic and readable fiction is no easy task but the writer accomplishes it beautifully in this book. You feel the sad magnetism of Mary, Queen of Scots and the dedication and frustration of Sir Francis Knollys, her host and/or jailer.
I found this to be a really good read from a writer who really understands this period in history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SDRTX on January 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ursula Blanchard, now Ursula Stannard is back for another adventure of political intrigue. It's not an adventure that she particularly wants. She had given up spying for her half-sister Queen Elizabeth or so she thought. She is sucked back into the antics of court when there is some trouble with Ursula's ward, Penelope Mason. Pen, one of Elizabeth's ladies-in-waiting has fallen in love with a married man. Elizabeth is not amused. Elizabeth uses this to have Ursula to go visit Mary Queen of Scots at the northern castle where she is held captive. Ursula does not want to accept her assignment, but much to her surprise her husband Hugh urges her too. She, her daughter Meg, and her ward set out on their journey north. Things do not turn out well when Meg is kidnapped and one of her men is killed. This is the first of mishaps and misadventures that the group faces.
Fiona Buckley skillfully interweaves historical fact and fiction. Ursula Stannard is portrayed as a strong independent woman who can hold her own with any man. Most of the characters are richly drawn and the setting gives you a real sense of time and place. The story line was interesting and kept you reading. Overall, this entry is an entertaining addition to a well-received series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on November 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It's been three years since Ursula Blanchard married Hugh Stannard, but in spite of his being twenty years her senior, it has been a peaceful time for the baseborn sister of Queen Elizabeth I. When Hugh and Ursula are summoned to court to collect her wayward wad, the queen and sir Cecil have a job for the former spy to perform.
Mary, Queen of Scotts, has escaped her Scottish prison and sought refuge in England. She is now half guest and half prisoner and the Scottish regent is seeking an inquiry into whether Mary is guilty of murdering her husband. The queen and her accuser want Ursula to find out the truth of the matter and offer Ursula's ward a dowry with an estate that is next door to where Mary is being held. After much trouble, they finally arrive at the Yorkshire estate of Tyesdale where Ursula becomes embroiled in a plot to free Mary when her supporters kidnap her ward.
Although Ursula has been content in the three years away from court and playing spy for her half-sister, she feels her blood stir as she once again becomes involved in politics and intrigue. She is an independent clever woman in an age when females were supposed to be weak and submissive. Readers will admire her strengths and her love for her child but they will care for the woman who lives life on her own terms.
Harriet Klausner
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