Queen's Ransom

Fiona Buckley, Author Scribner Book Company $23 (352p) ISBN 978-0-684-86267-5
A woman with a '90s attitude living in the 1560s--that's Ursula Blanchard, the heroine of Buckley's jaunty historical mystery series, of which this is the third entry (after To Shield the Queen and The Doublet Affair). This time out, the 27-year-old lady-in-waiting is sent on a dangerous mission to France on the brink of civil war. In an effort to mitigate the threats from Spain and France, 28-year-old Queen Elizabeth I wishes to negotiate accords among the warring French Catholics and Protestants, and to secure her support among the latter. Since Ursula had planned to accompany the father of her deceased husband (Luke Blanchard) on a trip to retrieve his young ward from the Loire valley, Elizabeth entrusts her with a letter to be personally delivered to Catherine, Queen of France. Never mind that Ursula is a young woman vulnerable to harm or that she's taken on a task that many find unsuitable for a lady. On her guard, she sets out for Paris to complete her mission. She soon realizes that the ""protection"" she's traveling with may not be on her side: the senior Blanchard's shifty behavior and suspicious guardians leave her feeling unsure whom she can trust. Adventure (and coincidence) abound, as she encounters her estranged second husband, Matthew de la Roche, who's at the forefront of the raging religious battle. Buckley's amusingly modern characters mesh successfully with the well-researched, though at times contrived, plot, and readers will be wrapped up in the 16th- century thrill of pitfalls lurking around every corner. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2000
Release date: 01/01/2000
Compact Disc - 978-0-7861-9869-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-671-03293-7
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Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-7434-8909-6
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