cover image To Serve a King

To Serve a King

Donna Russo Morin, Kensington, $15 trade paper (415p) ISBN 978-0-7582-4681-3

Genevieve Gravois was raised to be the perfect 16th-century spy and assassin—motivated by Henry VIII to kill the French king, François I, as revenge for the death of her parents. She infiltrates François's court, but once there, her clear ideas of duty and honor come into question. François seems to be a just and thoughtful ruler, and the more she learns about Henry, the less she reveres him. Still, Genevieve has a mission and when she must choose between the king she has sworn to obey and the one she has come to adore, the price of her conscience may be her life. Morin sets her story in the Renaissance court of François I, seldom explored in historical fiction, and Genevieve is a powerful heroine trained in fascinating and unusual skills for a woman. But the polarization of the kings is simplistic and makes Genevieve's dilemma too easy. Overall, Morin (The Secret of the Glass) has created a wonderful heroine and painted a brilliant portrait of a neglected court, which will interest fans of the Tudor era, though the low level of conflict will leave them wanting more. (Feb.)