In 1533, during the tumultuous beginnings of what would become Queen Mary’s bloody rule, Sir Thomas Wyatt made his mark in English history by openly rebelling against the new Queen and her choice of
a ruling mate in Prince Philip of Spain. The rebellion had great potential for success.
The majority of England was in an uproar over the pompous Spanish nobles swooping in to gain power, land and wealth, while all the old family rights to property and titles under former monarchs were systematically being removed and redistributed by Queen Mary.
The Thornleigh family
are no strangers to rebellion when the cause is just, and the current times
prove to be just so. Isabel, the maiden daughter of the Thornleighs, soon finds herself in the heart of Wyatt’s rebellion when both her parents
are publicly exposed for their past offenses. She boldly agrees to act as secret messenger between Wyatt and the French Ambassador Antoine de Noailles. As the rebellion unfolds, Isabel’s life is torn apart by attempted murder, imprisonment, abandonment, and her quest to save her father before he
can be hung for his crimes against the crown.
Only the unlikely aid and questionable partnership that Isabel forges with Carlos allows for any potential light to shine through in the ever-darkening turn of events. As the Queen and her councilors devise their strategies against Wyatt, Isabel must move undetected and open the way for him to make the deadly blow
- but Carlos is not who Isabel thinks he is. As her plans are laid bare, he brings to fruition plans of his own. Ultimately, Isabel is forced to choose between the life of her father and the lives of the men fighting the rebellion.
The accuracy of the details of the Wyatt rebellion, the majority of the influential characters, and the events during Queen Mary’s reign allow for a greater note of realism in the fictional aspects of this story. The main characters are all fictional, as the author states in her endnotes, and are all very well developed. Kyle's masterpiece weaves
the fictional and non-fictional characters and events together beautifully; Philippa Gregory fans will be thoroughly pleased with Kyle’s comparable writing style and themes.