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In a Treacherous Court (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker Series Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Michelle Diener
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $19.99
Kindle Price: $10.99
You Save: $9.00 (45%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

An unconventional woman. A deadly enemy. A clash of intrigue, deception, and desire. . . .

1525: Artist Susanna Horenbout is sent from Belgium to be Henry VIII’s personal illuminator inside the royal palace. But her new homeland greets her with an attempt on her life, and the King’s most lethal courtier, John Parker, is charged with keeping her safe. As further attacks are made, Susanna and Parker realize that she unknowingly carries the key to a bloody plot against the throne. For while Richard de la Pole amasses troops in France for a Yorkist invasion, a traitor prepares to trample the kingdom from within.

Who is the mastermind? Why are men vying to kill the woman Parker protects with his life? With a motley gang of urchins, Susanna’s wits, and Parker’s fierce instincts, honed on the streets and in palace chambers, the two slash through deadly layers of deceit in a race against time. For in the court of Henry VIII, secrets are the last to die. . . .

Brilliantly revealing a little-known historical figure who lived among the Tudors, Michelle Diener makes a smashing historical fiction debut.

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.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2717 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1439197083
  • Publisher: Gallery Books (August 2, 2011)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G8QTYI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,762 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tudor Period with a Twist July 28, 2011
By Amanda
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Mystery, and Romance, Oh My! July 30, 2011
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
4.0 out of 5 stars In a Treacherous Court July 27, 2011
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Mostly romance 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacy and well-written
Loved the characters, loved the fact that there are threads of truth to the tale, and loved the pace of the story.
Published 2 months ago by The Champagne Monarch
2.0 out of 5 stars Sexually explicit, historically inaccurate
Unless you are looking for a bodice-ripping romance novel with EXPLICIT sex (and very little accurate detail about what anyone or anything was like in this period), don't bother... Read more
Published 4 months ago by mtzrtr
4.0 out of 5 stars Action Adventure spiked with Romance
Ms. Diener's stories are interesting and exciting, and her two main characters are wonderful. The only reason I have given the story four stars instead of five is because there is... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Here'sHowItWas
5.0 out of 5 stars 5+ Stars
This was a captivating read. The hero was powerful yet vulnerable. The heroine was intelligent and charming. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Romantic Historical Thriller
Although this is the first book this writer has ever published, one can’t tell by reading this book which is a fast paced romantic historical thriller. Read more
Published 11 months ago by karsiyaka
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting historical fiction
If you are a historical fiction buff, you'll like this story based on a real person , Susanna Horenbout. Read more
Published 12 months ago by DragonflyDebbi
5.0 out of 5 stars Illuminist in London
This is the first in trilogy centered around the court of Henry VIII through the eyes and experiences of a manuscript illuminator, who happens to be female. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Elaine M. Silverstrim
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm in love with John and Susanna
This was a fantastic book! Five stars from me for pure enjoyment and readability. It was a stay-up late page-turner, lots of action and danger, with two really strong main... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jersey Girl
2.0 out of 5 stars Forced treachery
Story line based on how to get in all the scenes, rather than developing the story line, but is a bit sappy. Fairly strong characters.
Published 14 months ago by andy
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and I have pretty high standards when it comes to reading books that fit within that genre. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Britt R.
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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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