Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle

Publish Date September 2011
Format: Paperback 448pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Young Queen Elizabeth I's path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England. 
Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen's loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth's trust only goes so far—Isabel's son will be the queen's pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel's husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war. 
Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen's Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty. . ."

My Review:

Barbra Kyle's latest novel, The Queen's Gamble, is set during the early part of Elizabeth I's reign, before her position on the thrown is secure from foreign advances. It is this tense atmosphere that greets Isabel and Carlos Valverde as they arrive in England. Returning to the land of her birth, Isabel is on a mission to rescue her mother from the gallows, but she soon discovers that her time in England will only ensnare her in greater missions that will force her to choose between her love of family and country. With her family torn apart by religious and political sympathies, Isabel must learn to secretly appease both sides while unraveling a deadly plot she unknowingly helped create.

The Queen's Gamble is an engrossing novel that captures its readers from the first page. The intensity starts on a high and continues throughout the novel like a rolling wave; just enough time to catch your breath before the next shocking moment occurs. The novels' focus is on the fictitious characters Isabel and Carlos Valverde, with the historical characters taking on a minor role.While reading the novel, it was easy to be transported to Elizabethan England, and I often found myself disappointed to set the book down for even a short period of time. Since the main characters are from Peru, they often said little phrases in Spanish to one another. Barbara did an excellent job of translating these phrases within the same line without having it sound choppy and out of place. In addition to the ease of the translations, the whole novel was written with great fluidity and attention to detail. This is the fourth novel in the Thornleigh series, but if you haven't read the others don't worry, this novel stands alone perfectly and will more than likely encourage you to read the others. I definitely recommend The Queen's Gamble to anyone who loves a fast paced plot that twists with every chapter! 

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