Shadow on the Crown

Patricia Bracewell. Viking, $27.95 (407p) ISBN 978-0-670-02639-5
Striking a quivering bull’s eye with the first book of a planned trilogy, Bracewell’s enthralling debut begins with Emma of Normandy crossing the “Narrow Sea” in 1002 C.E. to marry the much older King Aethelred. Emma is ill-prepared for the trials that come with her new position; not yet knowing the heart of the old king she makes the mistake of demanding the title of queen. The king, regretting the hasty decision of “taking a Norman slut to wife,” quickly tires of his demanding new bride; jealous rivals vie for Emma’s crown; and the threat of a Viking invasion constantly looms. But Emma’s role in the English court and her only chance of survival come down to heeding her mother’s words: “[Y]our first and most important task,” she instructed Emma before her departure, “is to bear a son.” Only then will her crown be secure. In time, Emma wins the hearts of her subjects as well as the affection of a young man in her husband’s court. Determined and savvy, Emma is a strong character that refuses to be cowed by her circumstances. With a light touch, Bracewell delivers a highly entertaining addition to the historical fiction genre. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, the Gernert Company. (Feb. 11)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 02/07/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-14-312435-1
Hardcover - 432 pages - 978-0-00-748175-0
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-00-748173-6
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-101-60619-3
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-00-748174-3
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