To Seize a Queen

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Book 23 of An Ursula Blanchard Mystery
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Pub Date 7 May 2024 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2024

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Description

Queen Elizabeth's half-sister and secret agent Ursula Blanchard takes on a dangerous new mission involving mysterious disappearances and murder in Cornwall in this gripping Tudor mystery.

1594. Ursula Stannard is attending on her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, when she receives an urgent summons from Sir Robert Cecil. Cornishman Master Roskilly was fished out of the sea by Sir Francis Godolphin, and has a shocking tale of being snatched by pirates and put on a slave vessel to Constantinople before his audacious escape.

And he’s not the only one. . . Folk in Cornwall are mysteriously disappearing. But why are only exceptional or unusual individuals being kidnapped, and could there be a link to two recent murders?

With the queen’s annual progress stalled, Ursula agrees to go undercover to unmask those responsible, knowing that Queen Elizabeth would be the most prized captive of all . . .

Fans of S.J. Parris, C.J. Sansom and Rory Clements won’t want to miss this compelling, impeccably researched Tudor mystery.

Queen Elizabeth's half-sister and secret agent Ursula Blanchard takes on a dangerous new mission involving mysterious disappearances and murder in Cornwall in this gripping Tudor mystery.

1594...


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ISBN 9781448313563
PRICE US$29.99 (USD)
PAGES 256

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Average rating from 17 members


Featured Reviews

This was another winner in the Ursula Blanchard Mystery series, it had everything that I was looking for and thought it continued the Tudor element perfectly and that it worked. The historical fiction element worked with everything that I was looking for and enjoyed about this series. Fiona Buckley has a great writing style and always enjoy going through this series with the characters.

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Book 23, in a series that is always fresh and full of energetic and determined characters. These books are well researched, creative and almost playful. I like the characters, stoic in their endeavours to keep Queen Elizabeth Tudor safe on the throne of England.
The story opens in 1594. Narrated by Ursula, half sister and special agent to Her Majesty, we learn that there are rumours of King Philip of Spain sending a second Armada to England.
In Cornwall, there have been a number of mysterious disappearances of talented artisans, a musician, Dressmaker, Potter, Tin Miner and others, for what purpose is yet to be discovered. Ursula and her servants are sent to Cornwall to urgently investigate before the Queen makes a Royal Progress there and might be put into danger.
Cornwall will always have a connection with smuggling, and so it is within these pages.
I loved the description of Cliff House, the idea of lower rooms being open to the sea sounded really scary, especially with the thought that people could enter the property stealthily during the nighttime. There are tunnels, dark and claustrophobic with a sinister purpose.
There is a local family with a long held smuggling background, that may or may not have reformed , and danger seems to dog their every move, before the guilty culprits are exposed.
I enjoyed this book, interesting characters, with some having quite sexist attitudes to modern views.
I prefer the books set at the Queens Court, full of glamour, but Ursula is a marvellous role model throughout.
A five star read.
My thanks to Netgalley and Severn House for my advanced copy, freely given in return for my honest review. I will post to Goodreads and Amazon today.

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To Seize a Queen
by Fiona Buckley
Pub Date: May 07 2024

1594. Ursula Stannard is attending on her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, when she receives an urgent summons from Sir Robert Cecil. Cornishman Master Roskilly was fished out of the sea by Sir Francis Godolphin, and has a shocking tale of being snatched by pirates and put on a slave vessel to Constantinople before his audacious escape.

And he’s not the only one. . . Folk in Cornwall are mysteriously disappearing. But why are only exceptional or unusual individuals being kidnapped, and could there be a link to two recent murders?

With the queen’s annual progress stalled, Ursula agrees to go undercover to unmask those responsible, knowing that Queen Elizabeth would be the most prized captive of all . . .

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Very entertaining mystery set in Elizbethean England. This is the only book I've read in the series. The mystery is complex and intriguing, English men and women kidnapped from the coast of Cornwall. I loved the description of Cornwall and its inhabitants. Overall a very enjoyable story with a satisfying ending.

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This is the Author's latest book in the series featuring Ursula Blanchard , half sister
to Queen Elizabeth Tudor .
Often used by the Queen to discover who is plotting against her and to investigate
deaths that might impact on her world Ursula goes undercover to investigate mysterious
disappearances of talented people in Cornwall ...... is the Queen herself a potential victim ??
Are the kidnapped victims being sold into slavery or is there a more sinister reason ?
Ursula's adventures during her investigation can be scary at times but she has the resolve
and determination to find the truth of just what is going on .

The Author manages to stay fresh and relevant in her writings bringing to life the sights ,
sounds and politics of Tudor England ,,,,,,,,,,,, little known historical events peppered throughout
enhancing the story .
I don't think reading the previous books is necessary to the enjoyment of this one but it would
help set the characters in place .
As long as the Author keeps producing books of this quality then I will be a willing reader .

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own

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I love the Ursula mysteries. At the start though I was starting to wonder if I was over them and how long they can continue since she is aging (as is Elizabeth I) but by the end I realized I had a lot of fun reading the latest installment. There are pieces of history that may be less known mixed in to the lifetime of Elizabeth. I will definitely keep reading as long as Buckley writes them.

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Fiona Buckley's To Sieze a Queen, is book number twenty-three in the Ursula Blanchard series, where Ms. Blanchard is a middle aged spy in the Elizabethan Age, and just happens to be Queen Elizabeth's half-sister as well.

To Seize a Queen is rather fast paced, and the history is (surprisingly) quite accurate, but one major flaw I noticed while reading was there was no Elizabethan English (or Shakespearian English) used in the book which would have made the story a lot more authentic, even if the words were used sparingly.

Another thing I noticed, is while Ursula is a noble woman, and widowed twice, she still tends to tell other males - even those of the same or higher status - what to do, even if that is not Ms. Buckley's intention. But, given this is the time of Queen Elizabeth, Ursula would not dare attempt tell a male other than her young child what to do.

A third issue is while Ms. Buckley gives a bit of back story on the characters, there doesn't seem to be any true warmth between them, nor does she seem to give them much depth.

That being said, the plot is quite detailed and very well thought out. Ms. Buckley does an amazing job bringing the entire story to life. The descriptions used, and easy flow of the plot, make the story easy to follow along with, and give the reader a sense that they are a part of the story and not merely a bystander watching (reading) to pass the time away.

Ms. Buckley is quick of wit, giving the characters, though the main female character especially, a bit of humor
which makes the book much more enjoyable to read.

If you like historical stories, and strong female leads, giving To Seize a Queen a try is an absolute must. While you may not learn any Elizabethan English words, you could learn quite a bit of history and enjoy a decent story at the same time.

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Still an awesome series…

When a series has been going for more than 20 years and more than 20 books, I imagine it might be hard for the author to keep coming up with intriguing plots; to keep the characters feeling real while still allowing them to develop and grow; and to keep the backgrounds familiar enough to create a sense of continuity, yet still have something a bit new to draw the reader in. But somehow, Fiona Buckley manages it all in book after book of her Ursula Blanchard series, including in the latest, To Seize a Queen.

In this case, the familiar background is still England and still the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and yet a part of England with a decidedly different feel: Cornwall, with its Celtic heritage and remote location. Remote enough, in fact, that English citizens apparently are being snatched with impunity by pirates for the slave trade. As we find out in the second chapter (so not much of a spoiler), Elizabeth has become aware of this, and half-asks/half-orders Ursula, her illegitimate half-sister and former spy, to investigate. And although Ursula for once would rather just go home after her time at court, she instead heads off to Cornwall, pretending to be a cousin of one of the missing men. Of course, mysterious goings-on and adventures (some quite scary) ensue.

But I find that I almost appreciate the smaller and somewhat timeless details in Buckley’s books more than the big sweep of the plot. Early on, for example, Ursula disagrees with her son, Harry, over how he’s running his household, but keeps her mouth shut. Who among us, old enough to have adult children, hasn’t done that? And the quarrel over stabling space for her horses when Ursula first arrives at Hampton Court reminded me so much of the quarrels over parking places at work today – and in the end, got resolved the way that many such quarrels have throughout the ages, with the application of a little rank and status. Or even simply the worries, familiar to everyone, over how to come up with enough food when unexpected guests arrive. Each of these has its own twist for its time: after all, Ursula’s unhappiness with Harry is over his keeping too many servants – not a problem many folks have today. But the small details are familiar, and thus believable, and add immensely to the depth of the story.

So, on many levels, To Seize a Queen is well worth the read. And even if you haven’t read the earlier books in the series, Buckley fills in the background well enough that you won’t be lost. But after reading this, you may decide you need to read the previous 22 titles! (I’m simultaneously thrilled and bummed when I find a new author this way: thrilled to have a bunch more good books to read, but bummed when my TBR pile grows by so many titles all at once…) And finally, it’s kind of nice to see, with this book’s title, To Seize a Queen, a nod back to the beginning of the series, when ten of the first eleven books similarly had “Queen” in the title.

And my thanks go to Severn House and NetGalley for the review copy. And I’m already looking forward to the next installment in the series!

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