The Boleyn Deceit
Laura Andersen
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Buy *The Boleyn Deceit* by Laura Andersen online

The Boleyn Deceit
Laura Andersen
416 pages
November 2013
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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“Loyal by name and nature.”
In the follow-up to The Boleyn King, Anderson retains the same familiar characters, particularly the three friends who gather around the king, William Tudor, son of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, now Henry IX. What’s this, you say? A son? Certainly the future of England might have been vastly different if Henry had gotten the heir he longed for—and sacrificed the lives of his wives in that pursuit. Anderson entertains the premise that Henry VIII’s inheritance is safe in the hands of his son, though the usual rumors about his true birth continue to rile the public and foster plots to put Mary Tudor, a Catholic, on the throne instead of the Protestant king.

Reaching his maturity in this volume, William chafes against the expectations of the Lord Protector, his uncle, George Boleyn, Duke of Rochford. Surrounded by the only people he trusts—sister Elizabeth, best friend Dominic, and spirited Minuette, who has been raised with the Tudor children—William shares his true thoughts only within this intimate circle. Dominic, his right hand, will always do the king’s bidding; Minuette took on a dangerous mission in the last novel to protect William’s name from a scandal created by his enemies, though secretly harboring a passion for Dominic; and Elizabeth is her brother’s staunch supporter, though worried about current behind-the-scenes political machinations and grateful for the advice of Robert Dudley, who hovers around the outside of the tight-knit group.

The political landscape hasn’t changed much, the animosity between Catholics and Protestants a problem William must address constantly. Plots to advance Mary’s cause still brew among dissatisfied and greedy nobles, a potential arranged marriage with a French princess provides a means to quell the bellicose factions. In this volume, the political agendas of rivals take second place to the unfolding personal relationships among the friends, who don’t forget for a minute that one of them is king—the de facto winner in any debate. He may entertain their counsel, but William, settling into his role as sovereign, will not be gainsaid when he has made up his mind. The king has a secret, one he has shared with Dominic and Minuette but not Elizabeth (who is left to work things out for herself.) The court, however, filled with spies and gossip, is abuzz, ripe for a scandal, even the king’s privy council conscious of something amiss at court.

Vacillating between the political and the personal, Andersen builds her drama around the four confidants, the pressures of ruling England affecting them all but Minuette and Dominic most profoundly. The friends are on a collision course with betrayal and heartbreak, a fateful event changing the course of the relationships and the future of England as the author pushes on to the dramatic conclusion to an alternative history as dramatic and tragic as its source, the marriage of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII. Each new volume, however, requires the reader to invest in the false premise of its plot, a bit difficult with the passage of events and the time between publications.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2013

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