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Historical Fiction Early Review: In Defense of The Queen by Michelle Diener

In Defense of The Queen by Michelle Diener (Susanna Horenbout & John Parker #3)


Egalley thanks to the author

Synopsis from Goodreads
An artist never betrays her patron . . . especially one of the world's most powerful kings.

Susanna Horenbout has learned this lesson from the cradle. But when she receives a letter from her father telling her to do just that, she faces a dilemma. Betray Henry VIII, or carry out the request of her father’s employer, Margaret of Austria, and pass secret information to Henry’s queen, Katherine of Aragon.

Caught between the machinations of her husband and her nephew, the Emperor Charles, Queen Katherine needs all the allies she can get. But what can Susanna really do to help her, and even if she does, will it be enough?

Susanna and her betrothed, Parker——one of Henry's most trusted courtiers——balance on the knife’s edge of treason as they try to make sense of both international and domestic conspiracies. Sometimes, it's better the enemy you know . . .

Release Date: August 1st 2013. 
(sorry, no pre-order links available right now)
Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond | Goodreads

9.5/10

* * *
I've already mentioned how much I enjoy reading Michelle Diener's books. Last year her The Emperor's Conspiracy made my top books of 2012, and this year I managed to read the first three books in her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, and absolutely adored it.


I would say she definitely writes historical fiction with a flair, and if you think this genre is boring you might read her and reconsider. Her books are short, action-driven, well-researched and what I enjoy most of all, - have very strong heroines, which creates a wonderful sense of balance and equality between the main characters. 

Susanna is a female Flemish painter, which is on its own unusual. She is very pretty, extremely talented and at the same time has a sharp mind and unbeatable no-nonsense attitude in any sort of disaster.

She and John Parker meet when he (a King courtier, assassin and spymaster) investigates a murder she witnessed on her way to England. By third book they are thick as thieves, manage to crush some big conspiracies against King Henry VIII, suffer from his wrath, enjoy his kindness, get betrothed and amass a lot of enemies - all in a few months work.

In Defense of The Queen is mostly about Susanna becoming a very unwilling accomplice in delivering important news to the Queen of England. Susanna and Parker have to race against time to find out who is behind a complicated political intrigue which brings charges of treason and locks Susanna away in the Tower.

While she is trying to remain unharmed within the prison, Parker does everything in his power to eliminate the threat, and as usual both our heroes stumble on to a much larger plot of assassination.


In Defense of The Queen is a very fast-paced and quite an intoxicating ride full of danger and chilling, intense moments. I had to read it one sitting simply because I could not tear myself away from the book until I find out how it ends. A great read, very much recommended!


* * *
Мне очень нравится авторский стиль Мишель Дьенэ. Она закручивает сюжет не хуже чем Дюма, и в то же время её книги остаются довольно короткими, а сюжет максимально исторически правдивым.

Книги о Сюзанне Хоренбут и Джоне Паркере рассказывают об опасных политических интригах двора Генриха Восьмого до того, как он развёлся с Екатериной Арагонской.

Сюзанна - его личный художник, которая знакомится с Паркером (мастером-шпионом и ассассином  короля)  в первой книге, когда она становится свидетельницей убийства, которое он расследует.  К третьей книге они оба успевают раскрыть несколько очень важных политических заговоров, нажить кучу врагов и обручиться, потому как более родственных душ не отыскать.

В Защите Королевы, Сюзанна совершенно невольно становится обладательницей информации, которая предназначена для королевы, но передать которую будет значить измену королю. Сюзанна и Паркер решают, что передача информации - это меньшее из зол, и пока Сюзанну обиняют в измене и отправляют в Тоуэр, Паркер носится как угорелый, пытаясь найти тех, кто стоит за политической интригой, чтобы её раскрыть и уничтожить.

В то же время Сюзанна не бездействует, и натыкается на ещё более страшный заговор с целью убить незаконорожденного сына Генриха Восьмого, и вместе с Паркером она отчаянно работает над тем, чтобы спасти мальчика.

Что мне безумно нравится в книгах Дьенэ, так как это то, что её героини сильны духом, смекалисты, хладнокровны и очень прагматичны. У Сюзанны и Паркера прекрасный баланс сил, и они работают как равноправные партнёры. 

В общем, замечательный сюжет, множество приключений, напряжение, которое совершенно не даёт расслабиться до конца книги и занимательные характеры. Читайте! Очень рекомендую.
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