Friday 23 January 2015

Abduction of the Scots Queen ~ gripping historical fiction

In Stirling, Marie de Guise, the widowed Dowager Queen, fears for the safety of her  child, Mary, Queen of Scots. Rumours have reached her that the English intend to kidnap Mary and take her to Henry's court to marry his son.
A fast-paced dramatic story set in Stirling, Scotland in the year 1543.

Accompanied by her maid and four Douglas men-at-arms, Meg pondered her father’s instructions as she rode the dreary, waterlogged miles through Edinburgh and on to Stirling. By the third day, when rain gave way to clear blue sky and sunshine, she wondered if she could contrive something to her own advantage.

Father wanted her to pursue friendship with the Dowager Queen of Scotland, who was noted as a generous woman. If a gift were to be offered, a manor house with a little land would be most acceptable.

Riding into Stirling, Meg eyed Broad Street with a calculating eye, but decided it was not a place she would choose to live. A cheerful crowd, jostling for a view of the gallows, surged about the open space between the Mercat Cross and the grim old Tolbooth. A hanging must be imminent. Her escort closed protectively around her and forced a way through to the top of the hill.

Both her destination and the castle came into view at the same time. Meg caught her breath at the sight of the Great Hall, pale as day-old cream in the October light, shining like a beacon against the darker stone of the older castle buildings.

‘You there! Shift yer hide!’ The sharp order from her Serjeant snagged her attention. He had halted his horse and glared at two men sitting on the perimeter wall surrounding Douglas House. The taller of the two slid off the wall and disappeared in the direction of Broad Street before she had time to glimpse his face. When she looked at the other man, her heart gave a single, painful bound.


She blinked, and found she’d raised a gloved hand to her throat. Her heart thudded light and fast in her chest. Like Thomas, this man’s skin had been coloured by wind and sun, and his hair held the same dark-red fire of beech leaves. Yet Thomas Howard had been dead these six years. When the fellow slid from the wall, she realised the resemblance was no more than a trick of the light.

historical novel set in the sixteenth century. PG 13
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