Every Sunday Tanzanite highlights books that will be released during the upcoming week. She hopes you will find something you will enjoy!
The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots by Carolyn Meyer. Young Adult. US and UK release June 19, 2012.
Mary Stuart was just five years old when she was sent to France to be raised alongside her future husband. But when the frail young king dies, eighteen-year-old Mary is stripped of her title as Queen of France and set adrift in the harsh world, alone.
Determined to reign over what is rightfully hers, Mary returns to Scotland. Hoping that a husband will help her secure the coveted English throne, she marries again, but the love and security she longs for elude her. Instead, the fiery young queen finds herself embroiled in a murder scandal that could cost her the crown. And her attempts to bargain with her formidable “sister queen,” Elizabeth I of England, could cost her her very life.
The Divorce of Henry VIII by Catherine Fletcher. Non-fiction. US release June 19, 2012 (was released in the UK in February 2012 as Our Man in Rome).
In 1533 the English monarch Henry VIII decided to divorce his wife of twenty years Catherine of Aragon in pursuit of a male heir to ensure the Tudor line. He was also head over heels in love with his wife’s lady in waiting Anne Boleyn, the future mother of Elizabeth I. But getting his freedom involved a terrific web of intrigue through the enshrined halls of the Vatican that resulted in a religious schism and the formation of the Church of England. Henry’s man in Rome was a wily Italian diplomat named Gregorio Casali who drew no limits on skullduggery including kidnapping, bribery and theft to make his king a free man. In this absorbing narrative, winner of the Rome Fellowship prize and University of Durham historian Catherine Fletcher draws on hundreds of previously-unknown Italian archive documents to tell the colorful tale from the inside story inside the Vatican.
Elizabeth and Essex by Lytton Strachey. Non-fiction. US reissue June 19, 2012 (reissued in UK in April 2012).
One of the most famous and tortured romances in history—between Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex—began in 1587, when she was 53 and he was 19. Their passionate affair continued for five years, until Essex was beheaded for treason in 1601. In a fast-paced succession of brilliantly-rendered scenes, Lytton Strachey portrays Elizabeth and Essex's compelling attraction for each other, their impassioned disagreements, and their mutual struggle for power, which culminated so tragically—for both of them. Alongside the doomed love affair, Strachey pins colorful portraits of the leading characters and influential figures of the time: Francis Bacon, Walter Raleigh, Robert Cecil, and other members of her glittering court who fought to assert themselves in a kingdom and a country defined by Elizabeth's incomparable reign. Strachey here illuminates, in spellbinding prose, one of the most poignant affairs in history alongside the glamor and intrigue of the Elizabethan era.
Queen Victoria by Lytton Strachey. Non-fiction. US and UK reissue June 19, 2012.
Lytton Strachey's acclaimed portrayal of Queen Victoria revolutionised the art of biography by using elements of romantic fiction and melodrama to create a warm, humorous and very human portrait of this iconic figure. We see Victoria as a strong-willed child with a famous temper, as the 18-year-old girl queen, as a monarch, wife, mother and widow. Equally fascinating are the depictions of her relationships: with her governess "precious Lehzen", with Peel, Gladstone and Disraeli, with her beloved Albert and, in later life, her legendary devotion to her Highland servant John Brown, all of which show a different side of the staid, pious image that is so often attached to her. Awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Strachey's classic biography remains one of the best and most readable accounts of the Queen who defined an era.
The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas. UK release June 21, 2012 (was released in the US in April 2012).
With her dying breath, Mary of Guise entrusts a silver casket containing explosive secret papers to the young Scottish heiress, Rinette Leslie. She makes Rinette promise to keep the casket hidden and only to give it to Mary, Queen of Scots, now on her way home from France to ascend the throne.
But Rinette makes a terrible mistake - she cannot resist showing it to her beloved young husband, before consigning the casket to its hiding place. This fatal decision will lead them into a maze of conspiracy and murder, in which they - and the beautiful castle by the sea, which is Rinette's inheritance - become the targets of ruthless men who seek to possess the casket at all costs.
Unable to tell friend from foe at court, and desperate to protect the queen's secrets, Rinette has one powerful weapon which may save her - the ancient art of floramancy, through which she can interpret the language of flowers and sometimes predict the future. But if the flowers should stay silent, who can she trust then?
The Venetian Contract by Marina Fiorato. UK release June 21, 2012.
1576. Five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship steals unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers into Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from Constantinople. Within days the city is infected with bubonic plague - and the Turkish Sultan has his revenge.
But the ship also holds a secret stowaway - Feyra, a young and beautiful harem doctor fleeing a future as the Sultan's concubine. Only her wits and medical knowledge keep her alive as the plague ravages Venice.
In despair the Doge commissions the architect Andrea Palladio to build the greatest church of his career - an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. But Palladio's own life is in danger too, and it will require all skills of medico Annibale Cason, the city's finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. But what Annibale had not counted on was meeting Feyra, who is now under Palladio's protection, a woman who can not only match his medical skills but can also teach him how to care.
The Last Caesar by Henry Venmore-Rowland. US and UK release June 21, 2012.
AD 68. The tyrant emperor Nero has no son and no heir.
Suddenly there's the very real possibility that Rome might become a republic once more. But the ambitions of a few are about to bring corruption, chaos and untold bloodshed to the many.
Among them is a hero of the campaign against Boudicca, Aulus Caecina Severus. Caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow Caesar's dynasty, he commits treason, raises a rebellion, faces torture and intrigue - all supposedly for the good of Rome. The boundary between the good of Rome and self preservation is far from clear, and keeping to the dangerous path he's chosen requires all Severus' skills as a cunning soldier and increasingly deft politician.
And so Severus looks back on the dark and dangerous time history knows as the Year of the Four Emperors, and the part he played - for good or ill - in plunging the mighty Roman empire into anarchy and civil war...
A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir. UK release June 21, 2012 (will be released in the US in October 2012).
The year is 1562. Lady Catherine Grey, cousin of Elizabeth I, has just been arrested along with her husband Edward. Their crime is to have secretly married and produced a child who might threaten the Queen's title.
Alone in her chamber at the Tower of London, Catherine hears ghostly voices, echoes, she thinks, of a crime committed in the same room where she is imprisoned.
The story flashes back to 1483 and another Catherine - Kate Plantaganet, bastard daughter of Richard III. She has heard terrible rumours of the death of the young deposed Edward V and his brother (the Princes in the Tower) but loyalty to her father prevents her believing them. After his death at Bosworth, she is viewed with suspicion by Henry VII's court, even more so when she becomes pregnant.
Catherine, too, is pregnant, a friendly warder having sneaked Edward into her room. She finds documents relating to Kate's life and gets swept up both in Kate's story and the mystery of the Princes, which she realises Kate never solved...