Engrossing.... Most of the story is blunt, brutal and bloody, but Gregory has a deft hand with historical imagination, making the most of ancient mysteries.... Elizabeth is narrow and stubborn, but not altogether oblivious. She realizes what her husband and his brothers have done in their rise to power: They broke the law. By which I don't mean that they contravened some statute, though they certainly do that. I mean they broke the whole concept of law, to such an extent that it no longer worked. Edward IV ignored the law of sanctuary to murder the innocent. Now his wife and daughters may be humiliated, his small sons kidnapped and murdered because they stand between the throne and someone who wants it. Good historical fiction always provides at least incidental commentary on the present (if not outright warnings). In this case, the warning is clear: Turning your back on morality for the sake of political gain will come back and bite you in the bum.
Diana Gabaldon - Washington Post
The queen of British historical fiction (The Other Boleyn Girl) kicks off a new series with the story of Elizabeth Woodville Grey, whose shifting alliances helped the War of the Roses take root. The marriage of 22-year-old Yorkist King Edward IV to 27-year-old widow Elizabeth brings a sea change in loyalties: Elizabeth's Lancastrian family becomes Edward's strongest supporters, while Edward's closest adviser, the ambitious earl of Warwick, joins with Edward's brother George to steal the English crown. History buffs from Shakespeare on have speculated about this fateful period, especially the end of Edward and Elizabeth's two sons, and Gregory invents plausible but provocative scenarios to explore those mysteries; she is especially poignant depicting Elizabeth in her later years, when her allegiance shifts toward Richard III (who may have killed her sons). Gregory earned her international reputation evoking sex, violence, love and betrayal among the Tudors; here she adds intimate relationships, political maneuvering and battlefield conflicts as well as some well-drawn supernatural elements. Gregory's newest may not be as fresh as earlier efforts, but she captures vividly the terrible inertia of war.
A lovely young widow, Elizabeth, stands by the side of the road, hoping for a boon from the king against whom her husband fought. Her ultimate prize is far more—marriage and a crown, power, and influence. Edward of York risks much by marrying this commoner, but their union (and his new wife's fertility) brings an interlude of peace to an England tired of ongoing war. Then, Edward, never defeated in battle, is felled by a chill, leaving a child to inherit the throne. His brother Richard is to be protector, but Elizabeth does not trust him. She takes her brood into sanctuary, but her son Edward is captured en route to London. In this recounting of events leading up to Richard III's accession to the throne, Gregory shows a sure touch from beginning to end, weaving a compelling story with vivid characters. Verdict: This series launch will delight fans of Jean Plaidy and Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour as well as readers of sweeping historical sagas, especially those fascinated by the War of the Roses and the mystery of the princes in the Tower. —Pam O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY
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