Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Crown-Nancy Bilyeau

The Crown

Nancy Bilyeau

Touchstone, Jan 10 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781451626858

In 1537, Dominican novice Joanna Stafford learns her beloved cousin Lady Margaret Bulmer is to be burned at the stakes for treason against the Crown. Stunned Joanna violates convent rules of enclosure by leaving Dartford Priory; she rushes to London to stand by her relative while praying for divine intervention to save her Margaret from execution. Instead Joanna’s father uses gunpowder to expedite his niece’s death.

Father and daughter are arrested for violating the King’s justice. They are taken to the Tower where the Stafford pair resides for the next several months. Bishop of Winchester Stephen Gardiner visits Joanna with a deal she cannot refuse if she wants to prevent him from torturing and murdering her father. She is to return to her priory accompanied by two monks in order to locate the crown worn by Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the battle of Britain unification. However Dartford proves deadly, but clues lead Joanna and Brother Edmund to Malmesbury where much of English secret history is interred.

When this exciting Tudor era thriller focuses on Joanna, the storyline is fast-paced and intriguing; however subplots involving other characters at Dartford detract from the prime plot. Still, fans will enjoy the escapades of Joanna and Edmund as they try to do what is right under God and to save her father while their ruthless ambitious adversaries have no moral or religious limitations.

Harriet Klausner

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