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The Thorne Maze (Elizabeth I Mysteries, Book 5) Hardcover – February 14, 2003

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (February 14, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312301766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312301767
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tudor England's answer to V. I. Warshawski, Elizabeth I, must as usual take on a murder case or two in Harper's fifth well-researched, intrigue-filled historical (after 2002's The Queene's Cure). The royal sleuth is surprised by a deadly assault in the Hampton Court maze one night after making an appointment to meet old flame Robin Dudley. Did the attacker mean to kill her, or was she mistaken for someone else? Disturbing clues suggest that someone near to the queen wants her dead. A confrontation in a highly unusual maze makes for a thrilling conclusion. Harper's portrait of the Virgin Queen as sleuth is illuminating, but readers familiar with Elizabethan history will spot the villain much too soon.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Harper reaches back into Elizabethan history to construct another intriguing whodunit involving the court of Queen Elizabeth I. After a clumsy attempt on her life, the queen summons her most trusted advisors and servants to help her investigate the crime. Led by her chief counselor, William Cecil, and her resourceful herbalist, Meg Milligrew, this loyal band of amateur detectives scurries to protect the queen and expose a cold-blooded killer after two bodies are discovered in thickets of the royal maze at Hampton Court. Sensing a whiff of treason in the air, the queen must determine which member of the royal household may have a connection to her cousin and bitter rival, Mary, Queen of Scots. Another brilliantly plotted and authentically detailed entry in a series celebrated for its vigorous characterization of the Virgin Queen. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense and historical novels. A native Ohioan, she and her husband divide their time between Ohio and Florida. Karen is a former high school English teacher and English-and-writing instructor for the Ohio State University. (Go Bucks!) Yes, the Harpers are avid Ohio State football fans, but they have a serious side too. They were on the 10-year committee which revamped the main library on campus. The Ohio State Library houses her author collection in Rare Books and Manuscripts.

The Harpers love to travel, and Karen often uses her favorite places as settings for her novels. She's recently written books set in Tudor England and Amish country Ohio. Her latest bestselling trilogy set in Appalachia is THE COLD CREEK NOVELS. These are SHATTERED SECRETS, FORBIDDEN GROUND and BROKEN BONDS. These bring her published books over 60 in a 30-year writing career.

Karen belongs to several writer's organizations, including International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and The Historical Novel Society. She appreciates hearing from readers on her website at she answers!

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Forget the improbability of Elizabeth I and William Cecil (Elizabeth's chief advisor) actually having the time and inclination to play detective, and surrender yourself to enjoying a historical mystery novel is packed with intrigue, suspense and wonderful historical detail, for "The Thorne Maze" is definitely not a treat to be missed!
It's the summer of 1564, and in order to escape the threat of the plague, Elizabeth has moved her court (which currently also includes Templar Sutton, a famed lawyer, and his half-Italian wife, Bettina; Mary Sidney, the Countess of Pembrooke and the queen's closest friend and Robert Dudley, a gentleman that Elizabeth is drawn to even if she doesn't totally trust him) to Hampton. Of course there a variety of entertainments to amuse and pass the time, but when Elizabeth uses the cover of a masque to slip out in order to meet Dudley, little does she expect to be attacked either. Fortunately, the arrival of Bettina Sutton on the scene stops the attacker from completing his attack. Elizabeth quickly summons her Privy Plot Council in order to ferret out the would-be murderer. But are they looking for a 'plain' murderer who had mistaken the queen for someone else, or are they in the middle of yet another treasonous plot? Before long, Elizabeth and investigators are in the middle of another perplexing mystery, and one that yields some unexpected suspects...
What made this novel so very enjoyable for me to read was the manner in which the authour managed to keep the level of suspense relatively high. The pacing was truly brilliant. There were enough red herring suspects together with some rather nifty plot twists -- enough anyway to keep to me engrossed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Valerie Fletcher Adolph on August 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Thorne Maze is the fifth in Karen Harper's Elizabethan mystery series, and one of the best. The series had a rather slow start, with a really interesting concept - the first Queen Elizabeth and a small band of loyal friends solving mysteries - but initially rather forgettable characters. Now the writer has hit her stride and the characters are much more believable and the dialogue both truer and livelier.
With each new book the characters have developed depth and have moved in a natural life progression. The setting is as accurate as it can be 500 years later (and I'm from England, I can spot an American writers' innaccuracies right away). Most of all, it's a tale well told.
I can see the writer's difficulty. She strives to include historical characters, locations, time frames and still come up with a strong and workable plot. To be honest, there are times when the plot is a bit contrived, in the effort to include all the other elements. Personally, I can accept this. I'd rather have the accuracy and the depth of research. And this writer is a great story teller, she is working with a fascinating period in history and she has peopled it with, by now, strong and likeable characters.
This is a good read. I can recommend this book to anyone who likes history and mystery.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
With plague in London, Queen Elizabeth I and her retinue move to Hampton Court one of her favorite residences. There is a maze on the property that everyone admires especially Sir William Cecil's mentor Templar Sutton. One night after a play is performed; the queen sneaks away to the opening of the maze where she has arranged to meet her admirer Robert Dudley. Before that rendezvous can take place, someone lays hands on the queen, a treasonous offense touching the monarch, but worse still tries to strangle her highness before escaping into the maze.
When the maze is searched, nobody is there and Robert tells her he received a note stating she changed their meeting place to the stables. Determined to get to the bottom of this she reconvenes the Privy Plot Council consisting of trusted servants and Sir Cecil. When Templar Sutton is found in the maze, the obvious victim of a murderer, Elizabeth is determined to find the killer. When the plague moves towards Hampton Court, the queen and her court retires to Hatfield Manor where she intends to bait a killer with a trap he can't resist.
THE THORNE MAZE gives an insightful look into the mindset of Queen Elizabeth I during the sixth year during of her reign. History comes alive in this book as historical personages act true to character in their relationship to their queen. The mystery is interestingly plotted with so many suspects that readers will have a jolly good time trying to figure out the identity of the villain. Karen Harper is the grandmistress of the Elizabethan mystery.
Harriet Klausner
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Once I discovered these intriguing Elizabethan mysteries by Karen Harper, I couldn't stop reading until I had read all the books of the series. They offer a fascinating glimpse into Queen Elizabeth's character and court life, and are rich enough in detail to read again and again.
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