cover image Keeper of the King’s Secrets

Keeper of the King’s Secrets

Michelle Diener. S&S/Gallery, $15 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-4391-9709-7

Diener’s newest picks up right where In a Treacherous Court left off—painter Susanna Horenbout and courtier John Parker are now engaged, and remain in the service of King Henry VIII. While in the market one day, Susanna runs into Master Jens—a family friend—and is terrified when he tries to kill her. Baffled by the attack, Susanna and John begin to investigate. They soon discover that one of Henry’s most prized jewels, the Mirror of Naples, has been stolen on behalf of Cardinal Wolsey, who plans to deliver it to the king of France in exchange for his help in Wolsey’s ascent to the papacy. Henry commissions John to locate the jewel and find the thieves. However, when John is beaten and kidnapped, Susanna has to enlist unlikely allies to help find her fiancé and the missing Mirror. Diener’s latest is much more compelling than the last—the plot is fast-paced (though convoluted), and John and Susanna have grown as characters. John is as brusque as ever, and Susanna has become a more active heroine. Though the complex history of Tudor England can occasionally confuse the plot, readers will nonetheless find plenty in John and Susanna to keep their attention. Agent: Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary Agency. (Apr.)