Set in 1471 against the backdrop of England’s Wars of the Roses, Doherty’s atmospheric if flawed sequel to 2018’s Dark Queen Rising finds Countess Margaret Beaufort, mother of the future Henry VII, desperate to get her loyal followers out of the country. They are being murdered one by one, sometimes while supposedly safe in sanctuary in church. Is there a traitor among them? Margaret asks Christopher Urswicke, her personal clerk, to investigate. Given the many characters and a shifting, sometimes omniscient point of view, readers may struggle to engage with the protagonists, particularly since the saintly Margaret and Urswicke have no personal flaws. Another problem is the overuse of such words as retorted and demanded. As a mystery, the story sometimes feels unfocused, but as a historical novel it succeeds, with nuanced depictions of such real-life notables as Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III. London at night—dirty, damp, brutal—makes a convincing setting. Fans of late medieval historicals will be rewarded. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 12/02/2019 Release date: 02/01/2020 Genre: Mystery/Thriller
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.